Less than a month after being freed from Russian imprisonment in a prisoner swap with the U.S., Trevor Reed is thankful to be home. But he never thought he’d be there.
“A lot of people are not going to like what I’m gonna say about this, but I kind of viewed… having hope as being a weakness. So I did not wanna have that hope of, like, me, you know, being released somehow and then have that taken from me,” the 30-year-old Marines veteran told CNN in a preview clip for Sunday night’s special report with Jake Tapper.
“I wouldn’t let myself hope.”
Reed, a Texas native, was arrested in 2019 for assaulting a police officer after getting drunk at a party while visiting his girlfriend in Moscow and sentenced to nine years behind bars in July 2020.
Last month, suffering from tuberculosis and a broken rib and in and out of hunger strikes, he was released in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.
Before his release, Reed had been sent to a psychiatric treatment facility, which he claimed was punishment for being outspoken about his conviction.
“I was in there with seven other prisoners in a cell. They all had severe, psychological health issues — most of ‘em. So over 50% of them in that cell were in there for murder. Or, like, multiple murders, sexual assault and murder — just really disturbed individuals,” Reed told CNN.
“And inside of that cell, you know, that was not a good place. There was blood all over the walls there, where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or attempted to do that. The toilet’s just a hole in the floor. And there’s, you know, crap everywhere, all over the floor, on the walls. There’s people in there also that walk around that look like zombies.”
Now safe, home and healing, Reed and his family have vowed to keep fighting for other Americans still being held in Russia, including Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner.