On Wednesday of this week, President Joe Biden met with the parents of a veteran locked up abroad in Russia. Biden’s meeting came after a handful of Texas residents protested outside of the White House in support of the Reed family, whose son still sits in a Russian prison three years after trumped up charges, reports the New York Post.
At a glance
- A U.S. Marine currently faces nine years in Russian prison for a public drunkenness and assault charge. A Russian judge sentenced him in 2020.
- Lawmakers from his home state of Texas believe Russian authorities trumped up the charges to make an example out of the Marine
- President Biden met with the parents of the Marine veteran in the Oval Office this week to discuss their son’s situation
U.S. Marine Trevor Reed currently faces a nine-year sentence in Russia for allegedly assaulting two policemen during a public drunkenness stop. Reed traveled to Russia in the summer of 2019 to learn the language of his Russian girlfriend. Advocates for Reed claim the Russian government made an example out of him after learning of his military background.
“Authorities initially detained Trevor for public intoxication, but when the Russian Federal Security Service discovered that he was a U.S. Marine, they upped the charges and accused him of endangering the lives of police officers,” Texas Congressman August Pfluger told The Texas Tribune in 2021. “The accusation, and the lack of evidence to support it, was [utterly] ridiculous. Even the Russian judge erupted in laughter during his trial.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also confirmed the meeting between Biden and Reed’s parents, Joey and Paula Reed, in a statement released Wednesday night.
“During their meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to continue to work to secure the release of Trevor and other Americans wrongfully held in Russia and elsewhere, and to provide all possible assistance until they and others are free and returned home to their families who are advocating so passionately for their release,” Psaki said in the statement.
Biden’s press secretary vowed to keep Marine veteran Reed’s situation abroad a top priority
Joey and Paula Reed camped outside of the White House wearing T-shirts with their son’s face. They said they had been “promised” a meeting. Biden reportedly spoke to the couple on the phone earlier this month.
Pfluger and other Texas Congressmen expressed displeasure towards Biden earlier this month for not meeting with the Reeds sooner. Biden discussed the veteran’s status in a 2021 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. House also passed a 2021 resolution calling for Reed’s release.
Psaki said the president’s national security team will continue to correspond with the Reeds. She also said other families of “Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad” will receive attention from the President.
“[National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan] expressed our commitment to bringing Trevor home,” Psaki said. “We understand the pain felt by all of Trevor’s families and friends enduring the nightmare of his absence. We are committed to bringing it to an end.”
The reemergence of Reed’s story comes on the heels of a spotlight being shown on Russia and its foreign policy practices. In February, Russian authorities made international news by detaining WNBA star Brittney Griner, as well. They claimed she was in possession of hashish oil in her luggage.