Freshly released Trevor Reed emotionally accused President Biden’s administration of wrongfully leaving another Navy veteran in a Moscow jail instead of getting him out in the same prisoner exchange.
“I thought when I found out it was an exchange, they probably exchanged Paul Whelan, too,” Reed, 30, told Good Morning America of the comrade, who has been jailed for more than three years in Moscow for fabricated crimes espionage allegations
“I thought that – that’s wrong. For getting me out and not Paul,” he said, saying “sorry” twice as he paused to control his emotions in the interview, which aired Monday.
“The United States got me out, but they left him there. I can’t describe to you how painful that feeling is,” he continued.
Reed, who was released in exchange for a notorious Russian drug dealer late last month, vowed now to “do whatever it takes to get him out of it”.
Whelan, 52, who is serving a 16-year sentence, had shared a similar message with his family upon learning that Reed had been freed in a prisoner swap.
“Why was I left behind?” he asked. “Why wasn’t more done to secure my release?”
Reed insisted he should be swapped for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, whom the Kremlin has circulated as a possible swap for Whelan or Brittney Griner, the US basketball player who has been held in Moscow since February, according to the program.
“Absolutely. Viktor Bout has already been in prison for 15 years,” he said.
“I don’t care if it’s 100 Viktor Bouts. They have to get our boys out,” he said.
Reed still has a hard time believing he’s back in the US and not in the Russian cell, which he previously told CNN was covered in feces and the blood of other inmates who had been assaulted and even killed.
“I remember thinking this is real, you know you think maybe this isn’t happening. Maybe I’ll wake up in solitary confinement anyway,” he said of his freedom.
His mother, Paula Reed, remembered “GMA” when she finally saw him again.
“I said, ‘I love you — so glad you’re home.’ Gave him a kiss and a hug — a long, long hug,” she said.
His dad Joey joked about how they might overwhelm him with attention, joking that their son might soon be saying, “Oh my god — put my back in jail!”
Reed has been behind bars since 2019 and is serving a nine-year sentence for assaulting two Moscow police officers who drove him to a police station after a party where he was reportedly intoxicated.
He claimed one of the arresting officers signaled to him that they had been tricked into making fabricated charges by unspecified authorities.
The US Ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, called it “ridiculous” at the time that Reed was jailed “for an alleged crime that so obviously never happened.”
“It was theater of the absurd,” he said of Reed’s trial.
US officials also condemned Whelan’s trial as unfair. In his most recent statement to his family, the Navy veteran said he “has been held for 40 months on a fictional espionage charge” and that “the world knows those charges were fabricated.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/23/trevor-reed-angry-us-left-fellow-veteran-in-russian-prison/ Trevor Reed angers a ‘leftist’ US veteran in Russian prison