Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed released in U.S.- Russia prisoner swap

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed released in U.S.- Russia prisoner swap. 

Former US Marine Trevor Reed was released after a prisoner swap between Russia and the United States. 

Reed was sentenced to prison in 2020 on assault charges related to a drunken night out in Moscow the year before. 

He was released after a “lengthy negotiation process,” according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, in return for Russian national Konstantin Yaroshenko. 

He has been imprisoned in the United States for more than a decade on drug smuggling allegations.

Reed’s family confirmed his release, stating that their “prayers have been answered, and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States.”

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President Joe Biden said he had informed Reed’s family of his release in a statement posted by the White House.

“We warmly welcome Trevor Reed home and rejoice in his reunion with his family,” Mr. Biden said. 

“Trevor’s parents’ voices conveyed their concern for his health and their need for his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share the wonderful news of Trevor’s release with them.”

Mr. Biden congratulated Roger Carstens, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and John Sullivan, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, for their “tireless and dedicated labor” in securing Reed’s release. 

The president stated that the negotiations “required difficult decisions” that he did “not take lightly” and that his administration would continue to work to free another former US Marine, Paul Whelan, and professional basketball player Brittney Griner. They are both currently held in Russian prisons.

According to the U.S. and his family, Whelan has been in prison since 2018, receiving a 16-year term on bogus espionage allegations. 

Griner has been detained in Russia on drug accusations since mid-February.

According to CBS News chief foreign affairs reporter and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan, the Wednesday prisoner swap was not indicative of deeper diplomatic contact with Russia amid the deadlock over Ukraine’s war.

According to the Associated Press, the prisoner swap took place in a European country, with aircraft tracking agencies showing a Russian prison jet landing in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, earlier in the day. 

According to the Associated Press, the United States Bureau of Prisons amended its website overnight to indicate that Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot convicted of smuggling cocaine into the United States in 2010 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, was no longer in custody.

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Yaroshenko’s lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, said his client was “now heading home.”

Reed was convicted of attacking two Russian police officers and sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020. 

He insisted on having no recollection of the incident and pleaded not guilty. Concerns had been made by the U.S. administration concerning the fairness of his trial.

Reed’s legal appeal against his conviction and prison sentence was refused by a Russian court only two weeks ago. 

The matter was remanded to a lower court. U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan lamented the decision, saying that Reed “remains in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.”

Reed’s family has expressed grave concerns about his health, claiming that he contracted tuberculosis while in prison and was not receiving adequate medical care, despite Russia’s prison service claiming that he had been transferred to a prison hospital earlier in April.