Brother: Novi man accused of being spy in Russia to meet with UK Embassy officials
Paul Whelan detained in Russia for 32 days
NOVI, Mich. – A Novi man detained in Russia on accusations of being a spy is being allowed to meet with U.K. Embassy officials, according to his brother.
Paul Whelan is scheduled to meet with U.K. Embassy officials on Thursday in what will be their first meeting allowed by the Russian government, according to Whelan's brother.
According to the update, Russian officials are stonewalling the U.S., U.K., Canadian and Irish governments about the case.
Whelan has been in Russian custody for 32 days, and his brother expressed concern that Whelan is "likely to languish" until the Russian government can state a case.
Consular access is important because it ensures Whelan's health is being maintained and his rights are being respected, his brother said.
The update also indicates Whelan didn't select his legal defense team.
You can read the full update from David Whelan below.
"The UK Embassy is scheduled to meet with Paul on Thursday, January 31st. It will be the first meeting they've been allowed by the Russian government, who had initially deflected their request for access to Paul. Consular access ensure's that Paul's health is being maintained and that his rights are being respected.
"The Russian government continues to stonewall the U.S., U.K., Canadian, and Irish government about Paul's case. If this were a legitimate criminal arrest, it would be expected that the government could lay out their case. We know Russian state investigators are interrogating Paul about the case - on January 17, when the last U.S. Embassy visit was suddenly cancelled, and are scheduled to do so again tomorrow [1/30] in the presence of his defense lawyers. But the Russian government is unwilling to publicly state what their case against Paul is.
"Paul has indicated he didn't select his legal defense team, which now includes Vladimir Zherebenkov, his son Roman Zherebenkov, and Olga Karlova. They have signed non-disclosure agreements about the government's evidence, sealing both sides of this case. And while Mr. Zherebenkov has been able to share details of the government's evidence with the media, there is apparently no-one from the Russian government who is able to do so.
"Similarly, the Russian government continues to block Paul's ability to see the U.S. government's Privacy Act waiver, which requires his signature. While he has orally waived his rights in the presence of Embassy staff, a lack of a signed waiver limits what the Embassy can publicly discuss in relation to this case.
"It's unclear why the Russian government is unable to be transparent about Paul's case. Unless there isn't one. Paul has been wrongfully detained for 32 days and the Russian government's inability to state a case means he is likely to languish until they find one. We hope a diplomatic solution can be found to avoid his continued imprisonment."
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