Family members fear for lives of former Marines

Getty Images • April 24, 2021 4:59 am

The family members of two former Marines wrongfully imprisoned in Russia fear that escalating tensions between the Biden administration and the Putin regime may endanger the lives of detainees.

Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, two former Marines, have been imprisoned by Russia since 2018 and 2019, respectively, on what embassy authorities say are charges with scant evidence. Reed’s family says the former Marine, who served as a presidential guard in the Obama administration, has been subjected to brutal conditions with little to no medical attention.

Joey Reed, the father of Trevor Reed, told the Washington Free Beacon he is alarmed by the direction of relations between Moscow and Washington and wants to see more public effort from the Biden administration to bring his son home.

“We’re concerned about the heightened tensions between the two countries,” Reed said. “We’d like for the administration to talk about Trevor more.”

Though Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan brought the issue of Reed’s and Whelan’s detentions to the fore early on, they no longer make much mention of Reed and Whelan. Joey Reed said he was disheartened to see the Biden administration shift its focus to freeing imprisoned Russian dissident leader Alexei Navalny even as his son remained behind bars.

“It’s very, very depressing to Trevor and I’m sure to Paul that they never hear their name in the media from American voices,” Reed said.

A State Department spokesman said the agency is committed to bringing Reed and Whelan home. The agency said it has maintained “private” lines of communication to free the men who have been “convicted without credible evidence.”

“We continue to be seriously concerned over the treatment of U.S. citizens Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed,” the spokesman said. “They have been deprived of their freedom for far too long.”

The ability to keep track of Reed and Whelan may also be complicated by growing tensions between the two countries.

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