US Marine veteran Trevor Reed is on his manner dwelling after being launched from Russia, the place officers stated he was wrongfully detained since 2019.
“As we speak, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his manner again to america,” his household stated in a statement.
Reed’s launch got here as a part of a prisoner swap with Russia, with the US sending again Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced in 2011 to a 20-year jail time period for importing greater than $100 million of cocaine.
The shock prisoner change was the results of lengthy and troublesome negotiations between the US and Russia, in accordance with each international locations. The fraught diplomacy was made all of the extra extraordinary due to the utter collapse of relations between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden, who met with the Reed household final month, stated in an announcement on Wednesday that the negotiations to launch him “required troublesome choices that I don’t take flippantly.”
“I heard within the voices of Trevor’s mother and father how a lot they’ve nervous about his well being and missed his presence,” Biden stated. “And I used to be delighted to have the ability to share with them the excellent news about Trevor’s freedom.”
Reed, 30, was imprisoned for allegedly assaulting a police officer whereas he was drunk, however his household and US diplomats stated he was harmless, describing the proof in opposition to him at trial as “preposterous” and “absurd.” As an alternative, they stated he was being held as a bargaining chip.
In current weeks, Reed’s well being had deteriorated and he had been hospitalized with indicators of tuberculosis and a potential damaged rib, in accordance with the State Division, making his launch all of the extra pressing.
Reed’s household stated Biden’s determination to go forward with the prisoner swap could have saved the previous Marine’s life. They’d beforehand expressed fears that Reed may endure the identical destiny as Otto Warmbier, the American scholar held for 17 months in North Korea who went right into a coma after his 2017 launch and died.
The State Division has beforehand declined to determine precisely what number of Individuals have been detained in Russia, however there are a minimum of two high-profile prisoners who stay behind bars there: Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Whelan, one other former Marine, has been detained the longest, having been first arrested on the finish of 2018, and accused of being an American spy. His household has denied this, however he was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in jail.
Ryan Fayhee, a former Justice Division official now performing as a professional bono lawyer for the Wheeler household, stated they’d “advanced emotions” about Wednesday’s information.
“They need the household the perfect, however additionally they view this as a missed alternative,” Fayhee stated, pointing to the completely different crimes the 2 swapped prisoners have been convicted of. “It was a reasonably excessive value to pay. In the event you make a comparability between the 2 individuals who’ve gone dwelling right now, to not embody Paul in that could be a missed alternative.”
Fayhee referred to as on Biden to fulfill with the Whelans like he did with the Reeds, and contemplate various choices than prisoner exchanges with the intention to free him.