Biden, on veterans’ trip to Fort Worth, won’t meet parents of imprisoned Russian Marine Trevor Reed

The White House has declined a request from the family of former Marine Trevor Reed, who is in prison in Russia, to meet with President Joe Biden when he visits Fort Worth on Tuesday to highlight his veterans program.

Reed’s parents want to personally urge him to step up his efforts to secure their son’s release, and because they can’t keep up with Biden’s schedule, they will protest outside the site of his visit instead, a doorman said. -speak Monday.

“It’s devastating,” Paula Reed, Trevor’s mother, said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “We thought it would be the perfect opportunity for us to see him and be able to talk to him for just a few minutes, and they weren’t able to do that. So we’re quite disappointed.

Joey Reed, Trevor’s father, said their plan to protest outside the site of Biden’s visit on Tuesday is “an act of desperation.” He has protested before, including outside the White House, to exert public pressure on those responsible.

“The president, like all presidents, is heavily isolated by a staff, and we just think, if he saw us standing, he might say, ‘Stop it, is that Trevor Reed’s family? ‘ and talk to us,” Joey Reed said. “And if he doesn’t, at least maybe he’ll see the signs, and we could have the reunion later. But we’re hanging on to straws. Our son is seriously ill and we need the President to bring him home.

A chorus of Texans, including elected officials from both parties, urged Biden to pressure Russia to release Reed and, most recently, WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner, a Houston native detained last month at a Moscow airport.

Reed’s family say he is battling a worsening and largely untreated case of tuberculosis, contracted while imprisoned. U.S. officials have long said the charges against him were false and, before Russia invaded Ukraine, said Russia could hold him and other Americans as potential bargaining chips for a future trade with, for example, Russian spies.

The Reeds said they were able to speak with Trevor by phone Friday and Monday, after not hearing from him for months because Russian authorities blocked him from calling home.

“We were happy to have him. It was a surprise, but at the same time it was not a good thing because we learned exactly how sick he was and in what poor physical condition he was,” said Paula Reed. “It was great to hear from him, but that wasn’t the case. It was more sad because he’s not doing very well at all.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who played for Baylor University and is now a Phoenix Mercury player, was playing in a Russian league during the WNBA offseason, as she has for the past seven seasons. Russian authorities claim that hash oil was found in his luggage at Moscow airport.

“American citizens are not political pawns,” U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, tweeted over the weekend. Griner’s detention, he said, “follows a pattern of Russia wrongfully detaining and imprisoning American citizens, including Trevor Reed. Brittney, Trevor and the other Americans must be returned safe and sound.

Joey Reed said they would like to speak with Griner’s family so they get “the whole story [of] what they are facing. Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for the Reeds, said he reached out to Griner’s agent to express the Reed family’s willingness to speak with Griner’s family.

“Our thoughts are with Brittney’s family and loved ones. No one should have to go through this, and we understand that better than most people,” said Taylor Reed, Trevor’s sister.

Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020 for allegedly assaulting a police officer. The prosecution claimed there was evidence that a patrol car swerved as he was taken to the police station while intoxicated. But no surveillance video has supported this claim.

And now Reed’s health is failing.

“Again, there’s just a myriad of issues we’re facing just trying to keep it alive,” Joey Reed told reporters in February.

Trevor Reed was arrested in Moscow in August 2019 after a drunken altercation at a party and is serving a nine-year prison sentence for assault which the US ambassador to Russia blasted as “absurd”.

US officials said Reed and Paul Whelan, another former Marine imprisoned in Russia, were serving time on false charges, likely pretexts to hold them as bargaining chips in hopes of trading for the release of Russian spies.

Trevor Reed was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May last year, and he went on a hunger strike in November to protest his detention and the violation of his rights. According to his parents, Reed has been complaining of difficulty breathing and chest pain since being diagnosed with COVID-19.

The family’s concerns grew with Russian aggression against Ukraine and fears that the conflict could further complicate American efforts to free Reed.

Paula Reed said Biden’s remarks at the time about diplomatic difficulties with Russia were “like the exclamation point for me to see this and just know it’s going to be a lot harder to bring Trevor home “.

In response to the U.S. Embassy’s announcement that Reed may have tuberculosis, Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the treatment Reed received ” shameful” and “unacceptable”.

“The false charges against Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan must be dropped so they can return home to the United States and to their families. Now,” he said in a tweet.

The Reeds say they are grateful for the efforts of the US Embassy in Moscow to defend Trevor, but still want to see more urgency from the Biden administration to push for the release. by Trevor.

State Department officials insist they are on the case every day.

State Department deputy chief spokeswoman Jalina Porter told The Associated Press last week that the administration’s top priority is the “safety and security of all Americans,” including Reed and corporate security manager Paul Whelan, a Michigan man also imprisoned in Russia.

“It’s something the secretary works on day in and day out,” Porter said.

U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee is also pushing for action, telling a weekend press conference that Griner “was a guest in Russia … and I will demand her release,” Lee said.

Texas Republican Representative August Pfluger of San Angelo, whose district includes Granbury, has repeatedly called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end Reed’s imprisonment. Pfluger tweeted in February that he remained “extremely concerned for the health and safety of my constituent, Texas Navy veteran Trevor Reed. He was unjustly detained in Russia for over 900 days.

US Democratic Representative from Michigan, Haley Stevens, tweeted a call for the release of all Americans wrongfully imprisoned by Russian officials. “Paul Whelan. Trevor Reed. And now, Brittney Griner. I stand ready to work with the administration to bring home all Americans wrongfully detained in Russia,” Stevens tweeted Tuesday.

Former TV talk show host Montel Williams, who has long advocated for Reed’s release, is now adding Griner to his cause, tweeting on Tuesday: “I am very skeptical of the allegations against @brittneygriner and we all should be. My team helped #TrevorReeda Marine wrongfully detained in Russia and we stand ready to help Mrs. Griner.

Griner was arrested last month at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges.

The Russian customs service said on Saturday that the cartridges had been identified as containing cannabis-derived oil, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Griner has played in Russia for the past seven years this winter, earning more than $1 million a season, more than four times his WNBA salary. She last played for her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on January 29 before the league took a two-week break in early February.

More than a dozen WNBA players were playing in Russia and Ukraine this winter, including league MVP Jonquel Jones and Chicago Sky champion Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. The WNBA confirmed on Saturday that all players except Griner have left both countries.

Baylor's Brittney Griner shoots a free kick against Louisville in the second half...

Griner, 31, won two Olympic gold medals with the United States, a WNBA championship with the Mercury and a national championship with Baylor. She is a seven-time All-Star.

“Brittney Griner has the full support of the WNBA and our top priority is her quick and safe return to the United States,” the league said in a statement.

This article contains material from The Associated Press.

Comments are closed.