'Blood, murderers, zombies': US ex-marine Trevor Reed details SCARY Russian detention

Reed detailed how he was kept in a blood and feces-covered Russian jail cell with serial killers and rapists


                            'Blood, murderers, zombies': US ex-marine Trevor Reed details SCARY Russian detention
Ex-US marine Trevor Reed was arrested for intoxication when he was at a party with his Russian girlfriend (CNN/YouTube screenshot)
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US ex-marine Trevor Reed who was freed in a prisoner swap between US and Russia recently spent three years in a Russian prison. He has now opened up about his harrowing experience while describing Vladimir Putin's government as "sincerely evil from top to bottom."  Reed, who was imprisoned on trumped-up charges, was released on April 27. He was arrested for intoxication when he was at a party with his Russian girlfriend of three years, lawyer Alina Tsybulnik, in August 2019.

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Reed has spoken about his experience for the first time since his release, telling CNN's Jake Tapper about the prison's horrific conditions. He was taken to jail to sober up after his arrest for intoxication and was subsequently sentenced to nine years for assaulting and endangering two police officers' lives. Reed has, however, maintained that he never attacked the officers.

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"You have this view - kind of like I did when I went there - that Russia, yeah, they have a bad government, but it's like, you know, maybe Putin is evil but like the whole government isn't," Reed said. "And from being there inside, and seeing that government from the inside, how that works, you realize that the problem is actually much bigger than that. "

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"They have absolutely no value of human life, and that apathy permeates every level of the Russian government and that trickles down from the very top to the lowest level prison guard inside of their government and all of their police officers, all of their FSB, everyone who works for that government has absolutely no empathy for other humans. They are completely desensitized to that," Reed continued. "That government is really sincerely evil at all levels from the top to the bottom, and there is absolutely no reason why any Americans should travel to Russia for anything, everything."

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"Countries like North Korea, Russia now, China, Syria, Iran, Venezuela - countries like that are going to take Americans hostage, no matter what," he said. "It is our duty to get back Americans." Reed is now trying to free Paul Whelan, another US marine held in Russia. 

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Reed said that he had gone to Russia to stay with his girlfriend, who she had met online. The two have broken up since the incident. "She would come to the U.S. And visit me. I actually went to Russia once to see her and meet her family. I did not know Russian at all, and that's one of the reasons why I decided to start studying Russian was to be able to communicate with her family," he said.

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Describing what happened at the party, Reed explained that he drank a lot of vodka and blacked out. He became ill on the side of the road when police arrived and took him to the station lobby to dry out. "I don't remember anything until the next morning," he said. "I woke up in a police station. I was in a cell, and I asked the duty officer there like what happened? And she said you drink too much. It's Russian vodka. We'll teach you how to drink later, and she said so you can leave."

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While preparing to leave, however, Reed was told there had been a mistake and he had to return to the cells. Despite his girlfriend trying to get him out of prison, he was ultimately kept in a blood and feces-covered Russian jail cell with serial killers and rapists.  "The psychiatric treatment facility, I was in there with seven other prisoners in a cell. They all had severe, psychological health issues," Reed said. "Over 50 percent of them in that cell were in there for murder. Or, like, multiple murders, sexual assault and murder - just really disturbed individuals."

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Reed explained how he could not sleep because he thought the other inmates might kill him.  "There was blood all over the walls there, where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or attempted to do that. 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."

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A former boy scout, Reed said that he managed to survive in the prison by "compartmentalizing." "I tried to kind of compartmentalize and focus not on [the fact] that I'm being imprisoned, kind of distract myself: think about future plans, what university I was going to go to, what plans I was going to have with my family," he said. "All of those things to just distract myself from reality, which, you know, is not something you want to think about."

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Reed was taken to a top health clinic in Texas to be treated after he appeared frail upon his release. In March, he told his parents he had been exposed to tuberculosis and was coughing up blood several times a day, and had pain in his lung. He also said he had a broken rib, alleging that the Russians did not give him adequate treatment. "That, I think, contributed to really ratcheting up the conversations on this issue, getting to a point where we were able to make this arrangement, getting to a point where we were able to turn to some of the logistics of simply getting it done," Reed said. 

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