Ex-US Marine Trevor Reed To Be Released From Russian Jail In Prisoner Swap
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American Trevor Reed who has been detained in Russia since 2019 has been released in a prisoner swap, President Joe Biden has confirmed.
The ex-US marine was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 due to an altercation with Russian police, where he endangered the 'life and health' of the officers.
His family has maintained his innocence and the US government has described him as unjustly detained.
Biden said in a statement: "Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly.
"Trevor, a former US Marine, is free from Russian detention. I heard in the voices of Trevor's parents how much they've worried about his health and missed his presence.
"And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor's freedom."
"Our family has been living a nightmare. Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States," Reed's family have also said in a statement.
The US agreed to return Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the US after he was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and extradited to the US.
Russia had sought his return for years while also rejecting entreaties by high-level US officials to release Reed, who was nearing his 1,000th day in custody and whose health had recently been worsening, according to his family.
A senior US official described Reed’s case as one of 'utmost priority' for the Biden administration, including because of his health.
The official noted that Yaroshenko, whose sentence has now been commuted, had already served the majority of his sentence.
“It was a difficult decision but one that we thought was worth it,” the official said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the exchange of Reed and Yaroshenko was 'a result of a long negotiation process'.
The two prisoners were swapped in a European country.
The prisoner swap marks the highest-profile release during the Biden administration of an American deemed wrongly detained abroad and comes even as families of detainees who have met over the last year with administration officials had described them as cool to the idea of an exchange.
In a statement, the Reed family thanked President Joe Biden 'for making the decision to bring Trevor home' as well as other administration officials and Bill Richardson, the former US ambassador to the United Nations whom the family said travelled to Moscow in the hours before the Ukraine war began in the hopes of securing Reed’s release.
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