Former Marine back home after Russia imprisonment
FORT WORTH, Texas — Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine from Fort Worth, has been released from a Russian prison and reunited with his family after 2 1/2 years in captivity, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.
“I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence,” Biden said in a statement. “And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.”
Russian police accused Reed of assaulting an officer in August 2019, a week before he was supposed to return to Texas after visiting Russia. Reed’s family says Russian officials fabricated the charges to use him as a bargaining chip with the U.S. government.
“Our family has been living a nightmare,” the Reed family in a statement. “Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States.”
Reed, 30, was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020, and was being held in a prison camp in Mordovia, 350 miles southeast of Moscow. The investigation and trial, marred by inconsistent statements from Moscow police and the involvement of the FSB, the Russian equivalent of the CIA, have been discredited by U.S. officials.
Reed’s release Wednesday was part of a prisoner exchange, according to The Associated Press. The U.S. agreed to return Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.
Since Biden’s visit to Fort Worth on March 8, the Reed family had escalated protest measures to meet with the president to bring the 30year-old back home.
The Reed family spoke with the president for the first time during his visit to Fort Worth, when Biden spoke about issues affecting veterans. The family stood along the motorcade route holding signs about their son. Biden nodded and pointed at Paula Reed, Trevor’s mother, before calling the family later that afternoon.
The family had waited along the route for hours, and Biden apologized for not being able to stop because of his Secret Service security team. The White House told the family it would schedule a meeting.
But the family didn’t hear from the president’s team, and so they traveled to Washington on March 30 to protest outside the White House.
The Reeds met with Biden in private later that day. Press secretary Jen Psaki said that during the meet
ing Biden “reiterated his commitment to continue to work to secure the release of Trevor, Paul Whelan, and other Americans wrongfully held in Russia and elsewhere, and to provide all possible assistance until they and others are free and returned home to their families who are advocating so passionately for their release.”
On Wednesday, Biden said the negotiations between the United States and Russia were “difficult” and full of decisions he did “not take lightly.”
“His safe return is a testament to the priority my administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad,” Biden said.
“We won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends.”
The Reed family thanked Biden for his efforts, also expressing gratitude for dozens of other individuals who helped with their son’s release.
“First and foremost, we’d like to thank President Biden for his kindness, his consideration, and for making the decision to bring Trevor home. The President’s action may have saved Trevor’s life,” the family said. “We’d also like to thank Ambassador John Sullivan and the Moscow Embassy staff for believing in Trevor’s innocence and for their zealous advocacy. Similarly, we’d like to thank NSA Jake Sullivan, Alexandra Miller (NSC), and Victoria Bonasera (Consular Affairs). In particular, we want to thank Roger Carstens’ SPEHA team, including Fletcher Schoen, Steven Gillen, and others. We can’t say enough about the importance of the work they do every day for hostages and wrongful detainees.”