Why is Paul Whelan Detained in Russia? Canadian-born Marine Paul Nicholas Whelan born on March 5, 1970 has been detained in Russia on December 28 on suspicion of being a spy. He holds U.S., British, Irish and Canadian citizenship. He was given a 16-year sentence in prison on June 15, 2020.
The case of another American prisoner Paul Whelan has been brought into question following the release of Brittney Griner, the American basketball star held in Russia and released on Thursday in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
It has been reported that the U.S. is still trying to negotiate the release of the former Marine who was arrested in Moscow in 2019. Despite the fact that he was not included in the negotiations for the prisoner swap that took place on Thursday.
Why is Paul Whelan Detained in Russia?
Whelan was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison in Russia in June 2020. He claims that his trial was politically motivated and contributed to heightened tensions between the United States and Russia. According to his lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov his client received a flash drive containing state secrets in Russia in 2018 while he was there for a wedding.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said Whelan was “red-handed.” Whelan, who was arrested on December 28th, 2018, in a Moscow hotel claims that he received a flash drive from a friend thinking it contained pictures from a recent vacation. Whelan, his loved ones and the United States government have all maintained that the charges against him are false and that he was set up.
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Whelan claimed the verdict was inevitable on the day it was announced and yelled from behind glass that Russia feels impotent in the world, so they’re taking political hostages.
Why is Whelan in Prison?
Paul Whelan, a 52-year-old ex-Michigan resident was arrested by Russian authorities in December 2018 and has been held in prison since then on espionage charges. Despite American efforts, he remains in jail. He was arrested in Russia in February on drug possession charges after airport authorities found hashish oil in her luggage. She was given a nine-year prison sentence. The public outcry that followed Griner’s high-profile imprisonment helped bring attention to Whelan’s case as well as other political prisoners in Russia.
What is the reason behind Paul Whelan not being Released?
U.S. officials expressed disappointment that they had not been able to secure Whelan’s release following Thursday’s news of Griner’s release but assured the public that they would continue working toward that end. This administration has not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who has been unjustly detained in Russia for years, Vice President Biden said Thursday.
We’re going to keep trying to get Paul released from jail. That is a promise from me to you. I tell the family that Biden told reporters at the White House. Whelan, meanwhile expressed his great disappointment in the government on Thursday, saying. Especially as the four-year anniversary of my arrest is coming up, I am greatly disappointed that the government has not done more to secure my release.
“I was arrested for something that didn’t happen,” he told in a phone interview from the remote Russian penal colony where he is being held. I can’t figure out why I’m still doing this. Whelan’s Russian attorneys expressed disappointment that their client was left out of the exchange after hearing the news of Griner’s release.
It’s possible that he’s too valuable for the swap and they’ve decided to hold him for longer, she said, but that’s not known for sure. A national security official stated on Thursday that the Russians never considered Whelan as a viable option during the negotiations to free Griner and that the Russians treat Whelan differently due to the nature of the espionage charges against him.
We didn’t get to pick which American to bring home so that’s out of the question. The official said on a call with reporters, It was Brittney Griner or no Americans on the condition of anonymity. The door to discussions regarding Whelan’s release is still open, according to officials.
Whelan has been forgotten in a prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington for the second time. A former U.S. Marine named Trevor Reed was arrested in 2019 and later traded for a Russian pilot named Konstantin Yaroshenko who was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to 20 years in a U.S. prison.
Who is Paul Whelan?
Former Marine and corporate security executive Paul Whelan, 52, is currently serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian prison for espionage. Besides the United States and Canada, he also holds citizenship in the United Kingdom and Ireland. According to his military file, he was discharged from the Marines for bad conduct in 2008. Eventually, he worked his way up to director of corporate security at BorgWarner, a Michigan-based auto parts distributor.
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