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Axios

Former Marine Trevor Reed on Russian imprisonment: "I wouldn't let myself hope"

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in a Russian prison since 2019 before being released last month, said in an exclusive interview with CNN that he feared for his life while imprisoned.

Driving the news: "You felt they might kill you?" CNN's Jake Tapper asked. "Yes. I thought that was a possibility," Reed responded.


  • Reed also told Tapper that he wouldn't let himself have hope during his imprisonment.
  • "And a lot of people are not going to like what I'm gonna say about this, but I kind of viewed their — having hope as being a weakness," he said.
  • "So I did not wanna have that hope of, like, me, you know, being released somehow and then have that taken from me."
  • "You denied yourself hope?" Tapper asked. "Yeah. "I wouldn't let myself hope," Reed said.

The big picture: Reed had been sentenced to nine years in prison by a Moscow court in 2020 after being accused of assaulting two police officers in a physical altercation.

  • His family and the U.S. government said the charges were false and politically motivated, Axios Jacob Knutson reports.
  • Reed was released last month by Russia as part of a prisoner swap in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian citizen convicted of conspiring to import cocaine.

What he's saying: "The psychiatric treatment facility, 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 said.

  • "There was blood all over the walls there — where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or attempted to do that," Reed said.
  • "And inside of that cell, you know, that was not a good place," he added.
  • "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."

Go deeper ... Russia releases former Marine Trevor Reed