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American detained in Russia with Covid-19 has not been able to speak to family, they say

The parents of Trevor Reed, an American imprisoned in Russia who recently tested positive for Covid-19, said Friday that neither they nor the US Embassy have been able to contact him in the wake of his diagnosis.

“We don’t know anything about his treatment. We haven’t been able to talk to him since he was taken to isolation,” Paula Reed told CNN’s Victor Blackwell. “He was experiencing a fever, a cough and he lost his sense of smell or taste, possibly both. That’s all we know.”

Reed, a former US Marine, was granted a Covid test on Sunday after several days of being denied one, Joey Reed said, and Trevor Reed’s legal team was informed that he had tested positive on Tuesday, a day before he was supposed to appear at an appeal hearing in Moscow. That hearing was postponed.

“It’s really hard — I know as almost every parent knows their child, so if we could just talk to him and hear him say he’s okay, then I’m able to tell through his voice if he really is okay or if he’s saying he’s okay because he doesn’t want me to worry but he’s really suffering more,” Paula Reed said with tears in her eyes. “It would just be nice, even if it’s not just us, if they could call the Embassy and relay that to us. We just want to know how he’s feeling.”

Joey Reed said that the Embassy is “currently trying to get contact with Trevor, either by phone or in person or have him contact his family. They’re not getting through the Russian system. They’re trying all day, every day, for the last three days.”

A State Department spokesperson told CNN on Friday that “despite repeated requests, officers from Embassy Moscow have been unable to speak with or visit Trevor following the diagnosis.”

“We are deeply concerned for Trevor’s health. We continue to press Russian authorities for Trevor’s fair and humane treatment, access to appropriate medical care, regular contact with U.S. consular officials, and his release,” the spokesperson said.

US Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens said in a tweet earlier this week that Trevor Reed’s Covid diagnosis was “an alarming turn of events.”

“We are counting on medical professionals to provide Trevor with appropriate care and treatment and authorities to release him,” Carstens said.

Paula and Joey Reed said they hoped the release of their son and fellow detained American Paul Whelan would be a key topic during President Joe Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin but declined to say whether they thought Trevor’s release should be a precondition of that summit.

“We would hope that both President Putin and President Biden can come to some sort of an agreement to release our son and Paul Whelan, who we believe are both imprisoned illegally and innocent,” Joey Reed said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised both of their cases during his recent meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. According to a State Department readout, Blinken “made clear that Russia should release American citizens Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed so they can return home to their families.”

Trevor Reed served as a Marine presidential guard during the Obama administration, and Paula Reed said Friday, “We are begging, hoping and praying that President Biden will do his best to bring our son home because he protected him at Camp David.”

A Russian court sentenced Reed to nine years in prison in July 2020 for endangering “life and health” of Russian police officers in an altercation. Trevor Reed has denied the charges and US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan called the trial “theater of the absurd.”

This story has been updated with comments from the State Department.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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