Trevor Reed, the Marine Corps veteran who was freed from a Russian jail in a prisoner exchange in April, has filed a petition against Moscow with the United Nations.
A Reed family spokesman, Jonathan Franks, announced the petition Monday.
The family would like Reed's detainment in Russia to be declared unlawful. They're also seeking compensation from the Kremlin for allegedly violating Reed's rights.
The 13,000-word petition, which apparently includes legal documents and first-hand witness accounts, details the "many injustices and abuses that Trevor suffered," Franks said.
"It explains how Russia violated Trevor's basic rights by subjecting him to phony judicial proceedings that ignored exculpatory evidence, denied him bail on spurious grounds, egregiously infringed his right to counsel and access to U.S. diplomatic assistance, and subjected him to beatings and abuse in a gulag — all substantial violations of international and Russian law," said Franks in a statement on behalf of Reed.
Reed had been jailed in Russia since 2019 on charges of assaulting two policemen in Moscow. The officers were allegedly bringing the accused to a police station after a party where Reed reportedly got drunk, according to the New York Post.
John Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow at the time, called it "ridiculous" that Reed was imprisoned "for an alleged crime that so obviously did not occur," labeling his trial as "theater of the absurd."
The U.N. Security Council's "Working Group" is a panel of five experts from around the world that investigates cases in which individuals may have been deprived of their rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
While speaking to CNN on Tuesday morning, Reed said his petition is designed "to hold Russia accountable for wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment, and violations of human rights."
Last year, U.S. officials had classified Reed's status as "wrongfully detained." Soon thereafter, amid Reed's failing health, President Joe Biden agreed to the April prisoner swap.
While Reed was happy to get home, he also spoke out on behalf of Paul Whelan, another U.S. Marine who remains stuck in a Russian holding cell.
Whelan has apparently been held for more than three years in Russia on vague espionage charges, as part of his 16-year jail sentence.
"I thought that — that was wrong. That they got me out and not Paul," said Reed recently.
"The United States got me out, but they left him there. I can't describe to you how painful that feeling is," said Reed, who vowed to now "do everything I could to get [Whelan] out of there."
Franks says Russian officials typically use so-called political prisoners to leverage world leaders from other countries.
"Russian authorities convicted him in a sham trial of concocted crimes in which the government’s witnesses provided such fabricated and contradictory stories that they prompted laughter from courtroom observers. The key exculpatory evidence — police surveillance tapes — were erased without explanation," said Franks.
He added: "The Russian government then placed Trevor in a Soviet-era gulag, subjecting him to horrific living conditions, solitary confinement, malnutrition, and physical abuse, such that he began coughing up blood on a near daily basis. This was all in an effort to pressure the United States to free duly tried and properly convicted Russian nationals."
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