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The parents of US Marine veteran Trevor Reed, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia, are demanding proof that their son is still alive after being unable to contact him for several days.
They also renewed their demands for the Biden administration to intervene and bring the American home.
With the war in Ukraine dragging on for more than 40 days, Reed’s parents say they fear their son’s health will deteriorate rapidly in prison, suggesting he could become “the next Otto Warmbier”. Warmbier was an American student when he was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 and eventually brought home with severe brain damage.
Reed has been jailed in Russia since his 2019 arrest for assaulting Moscow police officers who were driving him to a police station after picking him up after a night of heavy drinking at a party. He was convicted in 2020 and sentenced to nine years in prison.
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Since then, Biden administration officials have repeatedly called for the release of Reed and Paul Whelan, a Michigan corporate security official jailed in Russia on spying-related charges his family says are bogus. . The White House says the two men are wrongfully detained.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Navy veteran’s parents said Reed’s last proof of life dates back to April 1, when Russian authorities allowed him to call his girlfriend. Five days then passed without any update on Reed’s “rapidly declining health”, his parents said, adding that “with each passing hour, we are more and more worried that something terrible is happening. be produced”.
“To be clear, we are unable to confirm that Trevor was even moved to ‘prison hospital’, or confirm that he ended his hunger strike, or that he has received proper medical care as claimed by Russian officials,” the family said. said in a statement released by their spokesperson Jonathan Franks.
The last time Reed remained silent while allegedly in hospital was when Russian authorities claimed they accidentally misplaced him for nine days in the psychiatric ward of the notorious Butyrka prison, said family. Meanwhile, Reed “was severely abused and held in shocking conditions with dangerous inmates, including murderers, in a cell with walls covered in excrement,” the family added.
“We believe there is a rapidly closing window for the Biden administration to bring our son home,” they said. “Our son is out of time. We again call on the White House to do whatever it takes to bring Trevor home. Our view remains that a prisoner exchange is the only way to bring Trevor back. home in the short term.”
“With each passing day wasted in ‘deliberation’, the risk of our son becoming the next Otto Warmbier increases dramatically,” the statement added. “We urgently call on the Russian government to provide proof of life and resume allowing Trevor to call us. Our son is critically ill. Now is not the time for cruelty for cruelty.”
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Joey and Paula Reed of Granbury, Texas, traveled to Washington, DC, last week and met with President Biden in the Oval Office. White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting and said the president’s national security team would stay in contact with the Reeds.
“To the Russian Government: Please let us speak to our son so we know he is alive and well,” the Free account Trevor Reed tweeted on Thursday. “To the US Government: Bring Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan home now! You have the capacity, Just Do It!
The Associated Press contributed to this report.