Nearly a month after being released from Russian detainment, U.S. citizen Trevor Reed said that prisoner exchanges should not be controversial.
Held for almost three years, Reed was released as part of a prisoner exchange with Russian national Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving time in the United States for a drug-trafficking conviction.
According to CNN, the former Marine was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 after being accused of endangering the "life and health" of Russian police officers in an incident the year prior. He has denied the charges.
In a Sunday interview, Reed told CNN host Jake Tapper that he doesn't agree with the idea that the U.S.' participation in prisoner swaps incentivizes foreign governments to take American citizens hostage.
Rogue nations are "going to continue to do that as long as American citizens travel there," he said.
"The thing that you have to understand is countries like North Korea — Russia now, obviously, China, Syria, Iran, Venezuela — countries like that are going to take Americans hostage no matter what," Reed told Tapper. "And even if they don't receive some type of exchange for those prisoners, they will do that anyway just out of pure malice just to show the United States that, We took your citizens."
Trevor's father, Joey Reed told Tapper, "This is not political."
"When they took Trevor, they didn't take a Republican or a Democrat," he said. "They took an American, and a veteran at that. And we need to start looking at these cases as being an attack on America. And if we can't force them, we should trade or do whatever we need to do to get our Americans home."
According to Reed, the United States is unique in its willingness to work to bring average Americans home who have been detained abroad.
"The United States went out and made the ethical decision to exchange prisoners to get their innocent Americans out of that country, even while exchanging them for someone who's more high profile and valuable in the United States," Reed told Tapper.
"The Russians, the Chinese, Venezuelans, Iran, Syria, North Korea — none of them ever in their whole history have or ever would make an exchange for a prisoner who is just an average one of their citizens. They would never do that. And that's what sets the United States apart."
The Hill reports that prominent U.S. citizens who are being held in Russia include WNBA player Brittney Griner, who was just given another 30 days detainment last week for allegedly having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, and Paul Whalen, who is serving 16 years on espionage charges.
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