Filthy Cells, Rotting Food In Russian Prison: Trevor Reed On What Brittney Griner And Paul Whelan Are Experiencing


U.S. Marine veteran Trevor Reed said the conditions Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan are being kept in are most likely “terrible” based on his own experience. He said his time in Russian detainment was really bad.

“The cells there are, you know, extremely dirty,” he told “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday. “Food there is, you know, really bad. A lot of times the food there is rotten.”

In 2020, Reed was charged with committing violence against Russian officers in a drunken brawl in Moscow the year prior. After serving three years in detention, Reed was released in April in exchange for Russian national Konstantin Yaroshenko, who’d been held in the U.S.. on drug smuggling charges.

“Hang In There,” Reed Says: There’s A Lot Of Waiting

Reed told CBS that he’s gained back the weight he lost while serving his sentence and that he’s finally feeling good physically and psychologically. He advises Griner and Whelan to “hang in there.”

“Just know that people are fighting for you and just know that you have a lot of people supporting you back here at home and that the highest levels of the U.S. government are attempting to get you out, so keep the faith,” Reed said.

“There’s a lot of waiting,” he added, recalling his own experience appealing his conviction, which Griner’s lawyers have undertaken.

“You may be requesting expertise or trying to find new evidence in order to appeal the ruling of the previous court during that time and that appeal could take, you know, years basically. In the end, all of the appeals are, you know, fake. They’re as fake as the first trial you receive. All courts in Russia are fake,” Reed said.

On a more positive note for Griner, Reed said the detention facility where she is being held is most likely “significantly better” than where Whelan is.

“Conditions of forced labor camps there are, you know, significantly worse than the pretrial detention facilities that you go to first,” Reed added.

The relationship between prisoners and Russian prison officials is not optimal. “They don’t like Americans,” Reed said. 

Prisoner Swap?

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed last month that the U.S. and Russia are in talks concerning a possible prisoner swap that could free Griner and Whelan in exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist is in a Russian penal colony following her conviction and nine-year prison sentence for less than a gram of cannabis oil she inadvertently left in her suitcase when traveling to Moscow where she’s played on the national women’s team for the past seven years.

Photo: Wikipedia


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