Statement by Ambassador John J. Sullivan on U.S. Citizen Trevor Reed
Moscow, August 31, 2020 (as prepared)
Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming out today.
I have just been in to Vodnik prison to visit with American citizen Trevor Reed.
As the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, the health, welfare, and treatment of U.S. citizens are my top priorities. That is why I am here today. As Ambassador, as a lawyer, as an American, I am concerned – and dismayed – by the treatment of some of my fellow citizens held by Russian authorities.
I am concerned that Trevor is not getting appropriate medical treatment and my consular team is not allowed regular access. And, of course, I am dismayed and troubled about the inconsistencies and inadequacies of Trevor’s trial.
I have said so many times before – a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal is a right outlined by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Russia, as a member of the United Nations, has an obligation to provide this not only for its own citizens, but for the citizens of any country.
Trevor Reed’s trial – if I can call it a trial – was not fair, not impartial, and certainly not independent. As was widely observed, the evidence presented was so ridiculous that even the presiding judge laughed – he actually laughed!
And yet, this is no laughing matter. Trevor was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Think about that – a U.S. citizen was sentenced to nine years in a labor camp for a crime he did not commit.
This outrageous trial, conviction, and sentence send a very strong signal to all Americans that it is not safe to travel to Russia.
When Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun was here last week, he spoke directly to Russian officials about Trevor’s case, and called for his immediate release.
Trevor’s case holds no legal merit, and he should be released immediately so he may return to his family in the United States. Trevor Reed should be released, now.