US Marine veteran Trevor Reed is on his approach residence after being launched from Russia, the place officers stated he was wrongfully detained since 2019.
“Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States,” his household stated in a assertion.
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 trade was the results of lengthy and tough negotiations between the US and Russia, in response to each nations. 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 a press release on Wednesday that the negotiations to launch him “required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.”
“I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence,” Biden stated. “And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good 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 towards him at trial as “preposterous” and “absurd.” Instead, they stated he was being held as a bargaining chip.
In latest weeks, Reed’s well being had deteriorated and he had been hospitalized with indicators of tuberculosis and a potential damaged rib, in response to the State Department, making his launch all of the extra pressing.
Reed’s household stated Biden’s determination to go forward with the prisoner swap might have saved the previous Marine’s life. They had beforehand expressed fears that Reed would possibly undergo 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 Department has beforehand declined to establish precisely what number of Americans have been detained in Russia, however there are at the very least 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 Department official now performing as a professional bono lawyer for the Wheeler household, stated they’d “complex feelings” about Wednesday’s information.
“They wish the family the very best, but they also view this as a missed opportunity,” Fayhee stated, pointing to the totally different crimes the 2 swapped prisoners had been convicted of. “It was a pretty high price to pay. If you make a comparison between the two people who’ve gone home today, to not include Paul in that is a missed opportunity.”
Fayhee known as on Biden to fulfill with the Whelans like he did with the Reeds, and contemplate different choices than prisoner exchanges with the intention to free him.