Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in a Russian prison in 2019 and released in April, is speaking up for WNBA star Brittney Griner as she finds herself in a similar situation. Reed said the White House is “not doing enough” to free Griner, Axios reports.
The former marine also advocated for businessman Paul Whelan, another American detained in Russia.
“In my opinion, the White House has the ability to get them out extremely fast, and they clearly have chosen not to do that. So no, in my opinion, they’re not doing enough,” Reed said on NBC‘s Hallie Jackson NOW.
Griner, who pleaded guilty to drug charges earlier this month, testified in a Russian court on Wednesday, according to Axios.
During Wednesday’s trial, Griner said her rights were not read to her when she was arrested at a Moscow airport for allegedly carrying a vape cartridge with hashish oil in her luggage, The Washington Post reports. The 31-year-old also said she was instructed to sign documents without knowing what they meant after inspectors found the cartridges.
In regards to the cartridges, Griner said “I still don’t understand how they ended up in my bag.”
“I had no intention to break the law.” she said, adding that she was “rushed packing and stressed packing. “I was in a huge hurry.”
Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boykov, told CNN on Tuesday that after testifying it will be “her decision whether she answers any questions or not,
The U.S. State Department said Griner, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, is wrongfully detained. During a hearing on Tuesday, Griner’s lawyers brought a narcologist and explained that the basketball star was using the cannabis oil for medical purposes.
The narcologist said “medical cannabis is a popular treatment specifically among athletes,” especially used in many countries outside Russia. U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood, who spoke to reporters outside the court, said Griner is doing as “well as can be expected under these circumstances.”
Reed said all Americans have a duty to help other Americans detained in Russia, but it’s especially important for him because he knows what they are going through.
“Everyday that you’re in there is a nightmare,” he said. “They thought that if they punished me long enough that I would give up, but that was never gonna happen.”