Family of Michigan man arrested in Russia on accusations of being a spy pleads for action
Family wants action from U.S. government
NOVI, Mich. – It has been 38 days since Paul Whelan, a Novi man detained in Russia on accusations of being a spy, was arrested on the streets of Moscow.
Since that day, the only video available of Whelan was taken during his first court appearance. He has been visited by multiple embassies, the latest being U.S. diplomats who met with him Tuesday.
Whelan's brother said he's not happy with how the situation is being handled by the upper levels of the state department. He said the U.S. Consular staff in Moscow is doing its job very well, but the lack of attention Whelan's case is getting from the secretary of state himself is concerning.
"The American government doesn't seem to have been able to get the information it needs to determine that the charges are false and to bring him home. And that was a very early statement by Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo that they would look into the charges and unfortunately it looks like nobody is looking into what the charges are," Whelan's brother, David Whelan, said.
The Whelan family continues holding out hope that Paul Whelan will leave Russian prison and come home. The American Consulate staff visited with him over the weekend and passed letters from the family to Paul.
There's trouble with getting Paul's permission to speak about the situation. American law said he needs to give the OK for that, but Russians are saying it needs to be in writing.
"The Russian government continues to jerk him around because he was not able to give the signed form to the embassy staff at the meeting. He has to mail it back to the embassy afterwards," David Whelan said.
David Whelan said the family is holding up as well as can be expected and that Russian prison is not Iraq, where Paul served, so they take solace in that. They are preparing themselves mentally for what could be a long battle.
"The legal system in Russia apparently has a 99 percent conviction rate and a 100 percent conviction rate in espionage cases. So, it's a foregone conclusion really that if he goes through the legal process he will come out with a conviction at the end," David Whelan said.
Paul Wehlan has asked to share his prison address, that is available below:
Paul N. Whelan
Lefortovsky Val 5
FKU SIZO FSIN RF
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