Parents of Trevor Reed discuss son’s Russian imprisonment

The Donlon Report

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Danny Fenster safely landed on U.S. soil Tuesday morning after spending 11 years in a Myanmar prison. However, others are still behind bars. Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine, has been a political prisoner in Russia for more than two years. Last week, he ended a six-day hunger strike.

His parents, Joey and Paula Reed, joined “The Donlon Report” to give an update on how their son is doing.

“We’re very concerned about his health right now and we just want him out of there,” his father told NewsNation’s Joe Donlon. “We had an attorney visit him yesterday and he still hasn’t been able to call us for, I think, 120 days, and he’s sick.”

Reed is being denied the right to communicate with his family. He began his hunger strike last week to protest his detention and the “numerous and flagrant violations” of his human rights by Russian authorities. Reed’s father said they have tried to send several items to Reed, but the chances of it getting to him are slim to none.

“We sent 13 books two months ago with the ambassador and they gave him one following a hunger strike and told him he’s not getting the rest. They said he can write letters now, which they haven’t let him do.”

The Mordovia branch of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service denied that Reed was on a hunger strike and insisted that Reed was eating “in accordance with the daily schedule” according to a report from Interfax news agency. They also denied allegations of human rights abuses.

Reed’s mother, Paula, said they haven’t spoken to Bill Richardson, who helped secure Fenster’s release. However, she believes that the U.S. embassy will get Reed out.

“I think we’re going to have to make a deal with Russia that probably America is hesitant to do, but I think we’re just going to have to do it because that’s the only thing I think that’s gonna bring Trevor and Paul Whelan home.”

Reed is not the only American imprisoned in Russia under controversial circumstances. Paul Whelan, a former corporate security executive, was convicted in June of espionage and sentenced to 16 years. His lawyer has said his client was handed a flash drive that had classified information on it that he didn’t know about.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week that securing the release of Whelan and Reed “remains an absolute priority for this administration.”

“We are continuing to press this issue with the utmost priority,” Price told reporters in Washington, noting that it was raised during June’s summit in Geneva between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin and in conversations between the nations’ top diplomats.

Reed, 30, was convicted in July 2020 and sentenced to nine years in prison for endangering the life and health of Russian police officers in an altercation. The family has denied all the allegations against him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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