Geneva, Switzerland (CNN)The parents of a former US Marine imprisoned in Russia are pleading with Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin to work out a deal to send him home.
Paula and Joey Reed hope Wednesday’s summit between the leaders will allow a resolution to nearly two years of detention for their son, Trevor Reed.
“He’s being held as a pawn to try and leverage concessions in a political dispute between our two countries in which he has no part, and it’s time to let him come home to Texas,” the two wrote in a statement obtained first by CNN.
Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 for endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers in an altercation after a night of drinking. He and his family have denied the charges and US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan called the trial “theater of the absurd.”
In prison recently, Reed contracted coronavirus and he wrote to his family that he had been coughing, had pain in his lungs, high blood pressure and had lost weight.
The letter, dated June 7 and obtained exclusively by CNN, was handwritten in Russian — one of the conditions set by the prison system. Reed’s Russian fiancée Lina Tsybulnik translated it for his family.
“Hello to my dear family,” the letter read. “Last week I received one letter from Lina. It said: ‘Trevor, how are you doing and where are you now?’ I replied at once. I haven’t received any other letters. I don’t know whether you will receive this letter from me or not.”
He went on to talk of his Covid diagnosis and medical problems and to ask for toilet paper, water and meat to be sent to him. He even asked if the US embassy in Moscow and State Department were aware of his case.
Reed was last able to call his parents on May 20. The letter has added to their concern, they said in their statement.
“Throughout his captivity, Russian authorities have gone out of their way not to provide Trevor with basic health care and given that, the news about Trevor having pain in his lungs has us terribly worried,” they wrote.
“For the last 3 weeks, we have respectfully asked the Russian government to allow Trevor to call us and allow the embassy to visit him to no avail, and we’d like to ask President Putin to let us speak to Trevor, restore his access to send and receive letters and for authorities to be completely transparent about whatever minimal care they provided him.”
The US Embassy in Moscow has also called for more access to Reed and his medical records. Last Friday, Chargé d’affaires Bartle Gorman accused Russia of violating conventions. “We insist that this brazen attempt to isolate Mr. Reed from both his family and his government immediately cease,” he said in a statement.
On duty at Camp David
Joey and Paula Reed believe their son has been targeted because of his military career, which they said included assignments at the Marine barracks in Washington, DC, and Camp David under the Obama administration. His duties included protecting then-Vice President Biden at Camp David, they said.
That posting showed his character, his parents wrote. “Trevor is not a criminal and anyone who knows him would find that notion ridiculous. He is an Eagle Scout who was selected to be an elite Presidential Guard in the Marines soon after enlisting.”
The family has spoken with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as have the relatives of another former Marine held by Russia, Paul Whelan.
Another former Marine’s plea
Whelan, imprisoned on espionage charges, told CNN in an exclusive call from his labor camp in Mordovia earlier this month that he wanted Biden to “aggressively discuss and resolve” what he considered the detention of US citizens for political purposes. He was also able to record a voice message directly to Biden, which his family shared with CNN ahead of the summit.
“President Biden — after 30 months of being wrongfully detained by the Russian government, I implore you to bring this appalling case of hostage diplomacy to an end,” Whelan said in the recording.
“I remain innocent, no crime of espionage occurred. The secret trial with
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