Day 1216 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - April 27, 2022 - Trevor Reed Released

Our family is full of happiness for the Reeds, whose son, Trevor, has been released from detention by the Russian government.  It's the event that we hope for so much in our own lives.  Hopefully, Trevor will now get the medical attention and care he needs deserves.  He is reunited with his family.

Trevor is free.  Paul remains a hostage.

You can imagine that today is one of varied emotions in our family.  I am glad that President Biden reiterated this morning his vow to bring Paul home.  Because otherwise it feels as though his pledge "not to walk away" from Paul, given last summer in Geneva, feels hollow today.  We do not know what concession the US government has made to Russia for Trevor's release.  But if this case required "difficult decisions that" the President doesn't take lightly, how difficult are the decisions he faces to release Paul?

[ President Biden's statement 4/27/2022: ]

And if not now, when one deal has been struck with Russia, then when?  How much harder will a second agreement be?  Today is a day of questions in our family.

Paul has already spent 3 and a quarter years as a Russian hostage.  Is President Biden's failure to bring Paul home an admission that some cases are too hard to solve?  Is the Administration's piecemeal approach picking low-hanging fruit?  And how does a family know that their loved one's case is too difficult, a hostage too far out of reach?

We rejoiced when Mike White was released from Iran in 2020 after 2 years.  But Siamak and Baquer Namazi are Americans who have been held by Iran since 2015 and remain hostages for 7 years and counting.  Is that Paul's fate?  That some Americans - and their families - are saved and others aren't?  One thing is clear:  it is the President's choice.

Unfortunately, time is not on Paul's side.  Our parents are literally not getting any younger.  Our hope remains that Paul will be home so they may see him once more.  But each day that hope dims.

The Biden Administration has engaged in far greater outreach with our family, and with the families of other hostages than the Trump Administration did.  The interactions with Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan meant something to our family.  If nothing else, on this day when my twin brother continues to suffer a gross injustice in Russia and another American is freed from injustice, I am confident President Biden cares and his team is making an effort.  Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for Paul.

Perhaps someday it will be.  Who gets saved is the President's choice.  President Trump wasn't able to make those difficult decisions.  It may be President Biden is unwilling to make them either.  We hope we don't have to pin our hopes on another American President before someone will do the right thing for Paul.