Although Russia and the United States are not coming to many agreements, a prisoner exchange has been coordinated. “Russia has exchanged jailed American Trevor Reed for a Russian pilot held in a U.S. prison in a rare example of cooperation between the two countries amid the confrontation over Moscow’s war in Ukraine” reports Bloomberg.
30-year-old Reed is a former U.S. Marine was serving nine years in prison after being convicted in 2020 of assaulting two police officers. Reed was swapped for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot jailed in 2011 for 20 years for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. after he was seized in a sting operation in Liberia.
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke early Wednesday with Reed’s parents, who expressed their relief and joy, and the former Marine was able to call his family from a government plane en route to the U.S., according to a person familiar with the discussions. Biden had earlier commuted Yaroshenko’s sentence as part of the exchange, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters Wednesday.
“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Biden said in a statement. Biden had raised the cases of Reed and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, at his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva last year, telling reporters later that “I’m not going to walk away” from them.
I am pleased that after years of wrongful detention by the Russian government, Trevor Reed has been freed and reunited with his family. We thank our partners for their cooperation and help to free Trevor.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) April 27, 2022
Reed was detained in 2019 and had charges against him denied. He the went on hunger strike to protest conditions in jail last year, his family said. The U.S. insists Reed was unfairly convicted, unlike Yaroshenko.
Russian TV footage showed Reed walking unsteadily as armed Russian police officers bundled him onto a plane at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.
Reed’s deteriorating health added urgency to efforts to secure his release, a senior Biden administration official said. Whelan remains in Russian custody.
Reed’s family thanked Biden for “the decision to bring Trevor home.” In a statement released through a spokesperson, they said: “The president’s action may have saved Trevor’s life.”
The exchange took place in Turkey. “Reed and Yaroshenko arrived at almost exactly the same time in Turkey. Teams on the ground on both sides confirmed the identities of the person the other country was offering, then Yaroshenko and Reed were walked across the tarmac to the other plane.”
The negotiations over Reed and Yaroshenko were strictly limited to the prisoner exchange and “not part of a broader discussion with the Russian Federation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in an interview with MSNBC.
“We didn’t seek that. We aren’t seeking that,” Price said.
Bloomberg adds that U.S. officials are hopeful Reed’s release could open the door for other Americans detained or having legal issues in Russia such as WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner, who has been detained for allegedly possessing vape cartridges containing hash oil.
You may like
REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.
Key findings of the report are below.
“Persuaded to return”
According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.
Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.
The Nine Forbidden Countries
China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.
According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
You may like
Nation3 days ago
MD nuclear scientist, wife, face life in prison after pleading guilty in nuclear secrets case
Immigration4 days ago
IG Audit shows nonprofit wasted $17 million taxpayer dollars on hotels to not house illegal foreign nationals
War on Drugs3 days ago
‘Mass poisoning:’ Officials seize 15,000 fentanyl pills disguised as candy
Immigration5 days ago
Texas has raised over $55 million from private donations to secure border, build a wall