Trevor Reed returns home and reunites with his family in the US 0:45 (CNN) — Trevor Reed, an American citizen and former US military officer recently released after two years in a Russian prison, detailed his harrowing experience surviving in a psychiatric treatment center in the country in an exclusive interview with CNN. “In the psychiatric treatment center, I was there with seven other prisoners in a cell. They all had serious psychological health problems, most of them. So over 50% of them in that cell were there for murder. Or multiple murders, sexual assaults, and murders, just really disturbed individuals,” Reed told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a newly released clip from CNN’s upcoming Special Report, “Finally Home: The Trevor Reed Interview,” airing this Sunday. at night. “And inside that cell, you know, that was not a good place,” he added. “There was blood all over the walls there, where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or tried to do that,” Reed continued. The toilet is just a hole in the ground. And there’s, you know, crap everywhere, all over the floor, on the walls. There are also people walking there who look like zombies.” In the video, which aired Friday morning on CNN’s “New Day,” Reed said he didn’t sleep for a couple of days out of fear of what the people in his cell might do to him. “Did you feel like they might kill you?” Tapper asked, to which Reed replied, “Yes. I thought it was a possibility.” Reed said he believed he was sent to the facility as punishment for his continued push to appeal his conviction. His return to the United States late last month ended a nearly three-year ordeal. Biden confirms the release of Trevor Reed: We welcome him home 0:52 The former US military man was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 after being accused of endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers in a altercation the year before. Reed and his family have denied the charges against him. Ultimately, Reed was returned to the US as part of a prisoner swap for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian smuggler convicted of conspiring to import cocaine. The United States commuted his sentence. Behind the scenes, officials both inside and outside the US government had been working for years to secure Reed’s release. Last month’s swap, an administration official told CNN, was the culmination of “months and months of hard and careful work throughout the US government.” which took place against the background of rising tensions between Washington and Moscow, dramatically exacerbated by Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine. It was the combination of factors surrounding Reed’s case — including the urgent need to address his failing health in prison, his family’s ongoing activism leading to a meeting with Biden, and the situation in Ukraine — that led Biden to authorize the swap for Yaroshenko, a source told CNN last month. How they transferred Trevor Reed, released from Russia 1:45 ‘I wouldn’t get my hopes up,’ Trevor Reed said Reed told Tapper he felt he would never return to the US and said he didn’t trust he would ever get out of the Russian prison. “And a lot of people aren’t going to like what I’m going to say about this, but in a way I think hope is a weakness,” he said. So I didn’t want to have that hope of, like, you know, being released somehow and then having it taken away from me.” “Have you denied yourself hope?” Tapper asked. “Yes,” Reed said. “I wouldn’t allow myself to get my hopes up.” But Reed’s loved ones in the US kept hope for him during his incarceration. Reed’s family are the only relatives of a detainee who have met with President Joe Biden to present his case. And they say that meeting was crucial in bringing Reed home. “We think that meeting with the president is what made it happen,” Joey Reed, Trevor’s father, said last month. Trevor’s mother, Paula, also called the meeting “a turning point.” Trevor Reed and his family have vowed to continue their activism and fight for Americans illegally detained abroad. Two other Americans, Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, remain in detention in Russia. A senior administration official told CNN last month that they don’t necessarily see Reed’s successful repatriation translate into a boost for the Whelan and Griner cases, but said the US government will continue to press for are released and that the channel for possible exchanges will remain open. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, on Saturday. According to a senior State Department official, the top US diplomat conveyed that Griner’s release is a priority for the department and has its full attention. Griner’s family, in a statement obtained by CNN, said they are “appreciative of the time Secretary Blinken took on his recent call with Cherelle and look forward to their face-to-face meeting with the president.” CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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