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Trevor Reed is said to be focusing on freeing other Americans in Russian custody

Trevor Reed, who was recently released from Russian prison, is campaigning for the release of two other Americans imprisoned in Russia

Trevor Reed, who was recently released from Russian prison, is campaigning for the release of two other Americans imprisoned in Russia (Images: CNN; AP; EPA).

Former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was freed from Russian captivity in a recent prisoner swap, is urging the government to negotiate the release of other Americans wrongfully imprisoned.

The Texan, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020 for assaulting a Russian police officer, was released in a prisoner exchange last month. He and his family have maintained their innocence and deny the allegations against him.

During an interview with ABC News, Reed, 30, campaigned for the release of American ex-Marine Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner, both imprisoned in Russia.

“I think the United States should have any kind of agreement to get Paul out. And if that involves an exchange, I think they absolutely should,” Reed said.

Griner is

Griner is ‘wrongly arrested’ by Russian officials, US government said (Image: Reuters)

Reed added that if this means the release of Whelan and Griner, the US government should trade Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence. Bout, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” has been wanted for over a decade and is said to have ties to Russian intelligence.

The Russian government has previously expressed an interest in Bout being a candidate for a prisoner swap.

“Viktor Bout has been in prison for 15 years,” Reed said, noting that any value he might have had to Russian intelligence has long since expired.

“He’s no longer a threat. He paid for this crime. Maybe not as long as the US government would have liked, but he paid for it,” Reed told ABC News.

epa08486057 U.S. citizen Paul Whelan (R) holds up a sign denouncing the trial against him while standing in the defendant's cage before hearing the verdict of his espionage trial at the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, April 15. June 2020 listening. Whelan, a former police officer, who has quadruple citizenship of the United States, Britain, Canada and Ireland, was arrested by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow in late December 2018 on suspicion of being a foreign spy. The court found him guilty and sentenced Whelan to 16 years in a maximum security prison with the option of serving time in a labor camp. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

US citizen Paul Whelan (R) holds up a sign denouncing the trial against him while standing in the defendant’s cage before hearing the verdict of his espionage trial at Moscow City Court in 2020 (Image: EPA).

Reed said the government should consider arresting the two Americans, both of whom face long prison terms.

“Fifteen years in prison is no joke. And the fact is that Paul has another 13 years in prison. And Brittney, who knows how long she’ll be sentenced? She can have ten years in prison.’

He said giving up the notorious arms dealer for the two Americans should be the next step for the Biden administration.

“If this is for Viktor Bout, I don’t care. I don’t care if it’s 100 Victor Bouts. They need to get boys out,’ he added.

Whelan was arrested in December 2018 while visiting Moscow for a friends wedding and charged with espionage. He was sentenced to 16 years. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays for Phoenix Mercury, was arrested at a Moscow airport for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into the country.

After Reed’s release from the Russian prison, the US government declared that Griner was “wrongly imprisoned”.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/24/trevor-reed-to-focus-on-freeing-other-americans-in-russian-custody-16701231/ Trevor Reed is said to be focusing on freeing other Americans in Russian custody

Justin Scacco

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