Family of Paul Whelan receives letters he sent them two months ago, brother says

Whelan lodged in Russian prison on espionage charge

NOVI, Mich. – It's been awhile since officials provided an update on Novi resident Paul Whelan, who is lodged in a high-security Russian prison on accusations of being a spy.

Whelan and his family strongly deny the espionage charge.

Local 4 has learned that Whelan was able to get some words to his family in Michigan.

Russians arrested Whelan in his Moscow hotel room just after Christmas, claiming he took possession of a zip drive containing the names of government agent.

Whelan hasn't been allowed to communicate with many people since his arrest.

It's almost Mother's Day in the U.S., and Whelan's mother finally received some words from her son to help ease her pain.

Nearly 50 letters sent to the family farm, called Kingsmead, in Manchester, Michigan, arrived in the past week.

Whelan's brother told Local 4 on the phone Monday that the letters had been written about two months ago.

"They were very much in diary form, as far as I can tell, and I haven't read them closely because they were intended for my parents and they talk to my parents," David Whelan said. "They tell inside jokes only my parents would understand and they remind my parents, who are in their upper 80s, over 80s, to do certain things around their house and make sure things are checked."

The letters sent by the entire family to Paul Whelan have not made it to him, even though prisoners are usually allowed to receive mail. His brother said the U.S. Department of State is now beginning to do more for Paul Whelan, including sending U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman to visit him last week.

"Ambassador Huntsman himself went with other consular staff for this visit last week and essentially was blocked and obstructed in the same way that his staff has been," David Whelan said.

David Whelan told Local 4 the Russians have the wrong guy. He believes more and more every day that the Russians were either looking for another businessperson or had the wrong idea about who his brother was.

David Whelan believes his brother is being pressured to plead guilty to the charges against him.

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