Trevor Reed’s parents meet with Biden at White House
President Biden met on Wednesday with the parents of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who is detained in Russia, after they spent the day demonstrating in front of the White House to raise awareness about his case.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that Biden met with Joey and Paula Reed in a lengthy statement Wednesday evening.
“During their meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to continue to work to secure the release of Trevor, Paul Whelan, 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.
“The President’s national security team will remain in regular contact with the Reeds, the Whelan family, and other families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. We are grateful for their partnership and feedback,” she said.
A spokesman for the Reeds also confirmed the meeting on Wednesday.
Trevor Reed was detained in Russia in 2019 for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a drunken episode, an occurrence he says he does not remember. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and has unsuccessfully sought to appeal the sentence.
The U.S. government has called his detention unjust and sought to negotiate with the Russians for his release.
Joey and Paula Reed were demonstrating outside the White House on Wednesday, seeking a meeting with Biden. They spoke with the president earlier this month when he traveled to Texas, their home state, and Biden had committed to meet with them in person during that phone call.
“I’m going to see if I can get to see them,” Biden told reporters earlier on Wednesday. “They’re good people.”
Joey and Paula Reed said their son’s condition has deteriorated in prison and it has become harder to contact him since the U.S. placed sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. Reed is staging a hunger strike in protest of his treatment in a Russian jail, according to the family.
“Our son’s physical condition, like many other American hostages, is going downhill fast, and so is our relationship with his hostage-takers, so that’s why we think it’s urgent that we speak with him,” Joey Reed told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday.
Whelan, another former Marine, has also been jailed in Russia and convicted of spying. His family denies the charges, and the U.S. government has tried to secure his release. Biden raised the Reed and Whelan cases directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two leaders met last summer.
More recently, WNBA star Brittney Griner was jailed in Russia on drug charges.
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