This week, news of Brittney Griner receiving a nine-year prison term for possessing cannabis oil in Russia made headlines around the world. Meanwhile, she is not the first American to get into trouble in Russia. Trevor Reed, a former Marine, once encountered a very similar situation.
Fortunately, Reed was released earlier this year after spending nearly three years in Russian custody. Recently, he has commented on the miserable state of Griner while speaking to CNN.
“Regardless of how you feel about Brittney Griner’s case, that sentence is clearly political,” Reed said.
“There’s no denying that.”
Reed has experience in Russian prisons
In 2019, Reed got detained in Russia on suspicion of endangering the “life and health” of police officers during a physical altercation. But he has consistently refuted the allegations. Reed also got a nine-year prison sentence, but this year, as part of a prisoner exchange, he was released. In April, he came back to the States.
“Once you are convicted in a Russian court, you do have a chance to go to appeal and appeal that decision to another kangaroo court in Moscow,” Reed elaborated.
“So, after that trial, you know, depending on Brittney’s decision on whether she wants to appeal or not, she may stay in Moscow at the detention facility that she is already at until her appeals are completed.”
“Or if she chooses not to go to appeal, they may transfer her to a forced labor camp.”
“Considering the fact that the Russian government is considering exchanging her, they may also decide to leave her in Moscow to make it easier for her to be returned to the United States.”
The Biden Administration is considering setting up a prisoner swap in which Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer, would be exchanged for Paul Whelan and Griner.