Paul Whelan, a citizen of the United States who is currently imprisoned in Russia on spurious espionage charges, was visible in a rare video broadcast on Monday by a Kremlin-backed television outlet.
Biden administration has declared Whelan to have been unfairly held
Yahoo News reported that Whelan was detained in Russia in 2018, accused of spying, and found guilty in 2020. He was then given a 16-year sentence to serve in a penitentiary colony in Mordovia, a part of Russia infamous for its prisons since the Soviet era. He has refuted the charges.
The Biden administration has declared Whelan to have been unfairly held, a legal designation that denotes that the accusations against him are unfounded and that he was principally singled out because he is an American citizen.
In the video that the Russian state-controlled network Russia Today (RT) released, Whelan can be seen wearing the prison’s black uniform and matching headgear in several locations inside the facility, sewing at a sewing machine and while at the cafeteria, alongside other inmates.
David Whelan, his brother, wrote in an email that he hadn’t seen him since June 2020 in his true form.
He said that the jail personnel had reacted against him after Russia Today had visited the facility in May to film Whelan but Whelan had declined to take part. Whelan informs the questioner that he won’t respond to his queries on the video.
Due to tense bilateral relations caused by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has engaged in two prisoner swaps with Russia. Whelan belonged to neither group.
Extension of Gershkovich’s pretrial detention in Moscow was challenged on Saturday by the defendant
In April 2022, Russia exchanged Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko for former American marine Trevor Reed, who had been found guilty there in 2019.
Brittney Griner, a star player for the United States in basketball, was freed in a December 2022 prisoner swap with Russia in exchange for renowned arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Recently, the U.S. Whelan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone conversation. The administration has reaffirmed time and time again that it is making every effort to bring him home.
Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal writer and American citizen, is also being detained in Russia on suspicion of spying, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail. In the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals, he was detained at the end of March.
The latest extension of Gershkovich’s pretrial detention in Moscow was challenged on Saturday by the defendant, who has disputed the allegations, reports from malaymail.