Trevor Reed describes harrowing imprisonment in Russia, says he couldn't sleep for fear he'd be killed

·Breaking News Editor
·3 min read

Trevor Reed, the former U.S. Marine who was detained in Russia and returned home last month in a prisoner exchange, is speaking out about how he feared for his life during the harrowing experience.

Reed, 30, told CNN in his first interview since coming home that he had been placed in a psychiatric treatment facility “with seven other prisoners in a cell.”

“They all had severe, psychological health issues — most of them. 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 in the interview, which will air on Sunday. “And inside of that cell, you know, that was not a good place.”

He went on to say, “There was blood all over the walls there — where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or attempted to do that.”

Trevor Reed on CNN
Trevor Reed, the former U.S. Marine who was detained in Russia for nearly three years, has spoken with CNN in his first interview since returning home last month. (CNN)

“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.”

In 2019, Reed was arrested after a night of heavy drinking in Russia, where authorities alleged he assaulted an officer as he was being driven to a police station. In 2020, he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The U.S. government said he was unjustly detained and called for his release, while his family denied the charges against him and said his health was deteriorating.

Reed, who said he suspects he was sent to the psychiatric facility for trying to appeal his conviction, said that while he was locked up, he didn’t sleep for days because he feared that his cellmates “might kill” him.

Wearing a mask and staring straight ahead, Trevor Reed grips the bars of the cage he is confined in.
Reed, who was detained in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers, stands inside the defendant's cage at a court hearing in Moscow in July 2020. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

“Yes, I thought that was a possibility,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

In April, Reed was released by Russia in a prisoner swap. The Biden administration returned Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who had been serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Joey and Paula Reed, Trevor Reed's parents, said they were “overwhelmed” and “in shock” when the State Department contacted them and said their son was being released after nearly three years in Russia.

At the time, Joey Reed said Trevor told him he had been flown from Moscow to Turkey, where the exchange took place.

Reed, looking glum and with his hands cuffed behind his back, follows two Russian security officers down a corridor, with four other people, a man and three women, in single file behind them..
Reed is escorted into court before a hearing in Moscow in March 2020. (Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters)

“The American plane pulled up next to the Russian plane, and they walked both prisoners across at the same time, like you see in the movies," Joey Reed said.

He added that his son “was walking strange. … They had to help him get up on the airplane.”

“He looks terrible to us,” Paula Reed said at the time. “As his parents, we know he does not look well. Very thin.”

Reed’s parents said they received a call from President Biden, whom Joey Reed described as “totally gracious and wonderful and kind.”

The Biden administration has been pushing to see Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained by Russia for nearly three months. U.S. officials have said she has been wrongfully detained.

Dylan Stableford contributed reporting to this story.