Trevor Reed's mother makes emotional plea with lawmakers for her son's release from Russian prison

0 0

READ FULL STORY @ Washington Times

The mother of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed joined Capitol Hill lawmakers Wednesday to deliver an impassioned demand for her son’s release from a Russian prison.

“Today is the 396th day that Trevor has been wrongfully detained in Russia. And it’s been 396 days of sleepless nights for me, praying that phone doesn’t ring in the middle of the night with news that he has been — that something terrible has happened to him,” Paula Reed said. “The past 396 days have been a nightmare for our family.”

She stood with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Mr. Reed’s home state of Texas at a Capitol Hill event designed to up the pressure on the Kremlin.

“The trumped-up charges brought against Trevor are clearly politically motivated,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “His sentence was based on evidence that was so utterly ludicrous that it was met with laughter in the courtroom, including from the Russian judge. We urge the Vladimir Putin regime to put a stop to this ordeal and release Trevor immediately.”

In July, Mr. Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison after his 2019 arrest on charges of assaulting a police officer while intoxicated. Mr. Reed’s girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, denied the police account of the incident.

The stiff sentence was handed down just weeks after another Russian court sentenced Paul Whelan, another former U.S. Marine, to 16 years in a maximum-security prison after being convicted of espionage charges. He was detained in 2018.

The families of both former service members have maintained the men’s innocence and that their loved ones are victims of a corrupt government intent on punishing American citizens.

The State Department pushed back against both convictions, saying there was no evidence of either accused crime.

“This is not a good story for U.S.-Russia relations,” Ambassador John Sullivan told NBC News in July. “And it is not good for encouraging U.S. private citizens and business to visit and invest here if what they did to [Reed] can be done to anyone.”

At the Capitol, Ms. Reed said her son’s ordeal is a massive blow to their family. His father, Joey Reed, has been living in Russia away from Ms. Reed and their daughter to be by his son’s side.

“Trevor is especially close to his 99-year-old great-grandmother,” Ms. Reed said. “I hope that Trevor is able to see her one more time before she is no longer with us. They have a very special bond, and I cannot even bring myself to tell her that Trevor is in prison. So for now, she thinks that he’s just traveling to visit Alina and she keeps wondering when is he coming home?”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

READ FULL STORY @ Washington Times