Trevor Reed, the American veteran who spent nearly three years in a Russian prison, has filed a petition with the United Nations declaring Russia violated international law with his detention and poor treatment, he told CNN Tuesday.
“This petition is to hold Russia accountable for wrongful imprisonment, mistreatment and violations of human rights,” Reed said on CNN’s “New Day” as he marked 48 days since he was released in a prisoner swap.
The petition was filed Monday, according to a statement from Reed’s representatives, who said it relies on documents and witness accounts to detail “the many injustices and abuses that Trevor suffered.”
Reed and his representatives are asking the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which investigates cases that might violate human rights law, to declare his detention arbitrary and unlawful, the statement said.
“They fabricated this crime in order to hold me there for political purposes,” Reed said, “and this is the first step in seeking justice and ending Russian hostage diplomacy.”
Reed, 30, was sentenced to nine years in prison after being accused of endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers in a 2019 altercation. He and his family have denied the charges against him. But he did not return home until the United States exchanged him in a prisoner swap with Russia in late April, after his family raised concerns about his health.
Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine, was detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 and arrested on espionage charges, which he has denied. He was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison in a trial US officials denounce as unfair.
Griner – a player for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury who plays in Russia during that league’s offseason – was arrested in February at a Moscow airport when Russian authorities claimed cannabis oil was found in her luggage. In May, a State Department official told CNN she had been officially classified as “wrongfully detained.”
Whelan has “been there for three and a half years and I’ve been released already for 48 days. We need to get him out of there, as well as Brittney,” Reed said. “If it takes exchanging someone, we need to do that.”
Reed was released as part of a prisoner exchange with the US for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian smuggler convicted of conspiring to import cocaine. The US commuted Yaroshenko’s sentence.
A spokesperson for the UN declined to comment, saying the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention would not comment until it had reached a decision about a specific petition, when the opinion would be made public.
CNN has reached out to Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN for comment.
CNN’s Dakin Andone and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.