Russia Agrees To Exchange, Trevor Reed Released

Russia Agrees To Exchange, Trevor Reed Released

Russia Agrees To Exchange, Trevor Reed Released

This is news out of Russia that the family of Trevor Reed has been hoping for.

If you don’t know the story, it’s because it hasn’t been well-covered in the mainstream media. And frankly, because the circumstances are just so bizzare when it comes to Trevor Reed. Unlike Brittney Griner, Trevor Reed was not an athlete or a famous person. The story of his arrest is so weird and nothing seems to hang right about it, until you remember that this is Russia we are talking about. The story begins in 2019, when Reed went to Russia. He got drunk at a party, and his then-girlfriend called police because she thought they would either take him to a hospital, or to the “drunk tank” at the station to sober up. When she arrived at the station, she was told to come back for Reed two hours later. Two hours later, he was under arrest.

When she returned, however, she said she found Reed showing signs he had been beaten up, with bruises on his face. Officers from Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the FSB, then arrived and questioned Reed without an attorney or a translator present, she said.”

Reed was arrested and charged with deliberately endangering the lives of the two police officers who had transported him to the station. Investigators accuse him of having attacked the officers while in the police car, shaking the driver by the shoulders, allegedly causing him to swerve into oncoming traffic and putting them in mortal danger.”

Yes, this sounds completely on the up-and-up, right? The trial was a joke, the camera footage from the police vehicles was deleted by the Russian police, and the two police officers could not get their stories straight.

The two officers appeared as witnesses in the hearing on Wednesday, where both struggled to recall the incident in detail and gave descriptions that suggested it had been more minor than portrayed by the prosecution.”

The driver told the court that he had felt “him pulling at my shoulders,” but that his colleague had almost instantly restrained Reed. The other officer said Reed had hit him around the stomach once with his elbow, leaving a “small bruise.” The driver said Reed tore off his uniform’s epaulette while pulling at him.”

Both nonetheless said they feared their lives were in danger, since the car could have crossed onto the other side of the road. They said the bruise and the tear to the uniform had also caused them “moral damages.”

Both were also repeatedly confronted with inconsistencies in their written testimonies, including that the senior officer had falsely said Reed had to be brought into the police station in handcuffs. The two became so confused that the judge more than once laughed at them.”

And Trevor Reed was then convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison. His family has been working ever since to get him out, including bringing his case up to Secretary of State Blinken, and talking with multiple lawmakers to keep Trevor Reed in their minds. This included a demonstration by a Biden motorcade in March, which, though a series of other communication channels and protests, finally got the Reed family a meeting with Joe Biden. During his time in the Marines, Trevor Reed had been part of the Presidential Guard, who serve at the White House and Camp David. Perhaps that connection to Biden made a difference.

Today, the announcement came that the Reed family has been hoping for. A prisoner exchange had been worked out with Russia, and Trevor Reed was coming home.

Given that we are currently sanctioning the heck out of Russia, the fact that this exchange happened at all is impressive. However, the exchange does mean that a Russian drug trafficker walks away from his prison sentence, too.

A senior US official and the Russian foreign ministry confirmed to the Associated Press that Reed’s release was negotiated as part of a prisoner exchange. The US traded the veteran for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a 20-year prison sentence in Connecticut.”

The official told the outlet that the decision to swap the prisoners was “difficult” but was “one that we thought was worth it.”

The swap reportedly took place in an unidentified European country – however a plane belonging to Russia’s federal security service was spotted flying to Ankara, Turkey hours before it occurred.”

Now, Trevor Reed is not returning from Russia in the pink of health. He reportedly has tuberculosis, which his family says was not treated in Russia, even when Trevor went to a prison hospital. He has also engaged in at least two hunger strikes to get attention from Russia, according to his family. BUT… he isn’t returning to the United States as Otto Warmbier did, which was his family’s ultimate dread.

The feeling is that Trevor Reed was prioritized over Paul Whelan, who was convicted for espionage in what he has maintained was a set-up, solely due to Reed’s health. This is important to note because Russia had named Yaroshenko, who was just exchanged for Reed, as a possible exchange for Whelan. Clearly, Russia wanted Yaroshenko back and they didn’t really care which American they traded for him.

The Whelan family would like to hear good news sooner rather than later. The Griner case is admittedly more complicated due to her higher profile, and the fact that she hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. Regardless, today we can all be pleased for the Reeds, and hope for Trevor’s complete medical recovery.

Featured image via opsa on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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