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Novi man held in Russia, accused of spying, has detention extended

There is a continuing legal battle involving a Novi man who is being held in Russia, accused of being a spy.

Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow and jailed in Russia on charges of espionage in late December. He's saying that his health is becoming a problem.

The judge did not allow cameras in the courtroom Friday. Whelan was recorded in a hallway and made it clear he's not happy with his treatment in Russia.

Still images show Whelan looking thinner and pale. He told a judge he has a hernia and that he's been beaten by his jail guards. He said the guards forced him to pick up and carry his belongings to a new jail cell, which aggravated his illness.

Whelan was supposed to have surgery last January, but it was was postponed after his arrest. Russian secret police said Whelan had a flash drive with a list of Russian spies in his possession. He has maintained that he thought the flash drive was vacation pictures from a friend.

He is facing up to 20 years in prison for allegedly spying. Reports from Friday's hearing said the judge stopped the proceedings in order to get Whelan an ambulance. Whelan refused and said they'll only check his blood pressure and won't let him ride in the ambulance to a hospital.

A nurse checked out Whelan in the courtroom and said he was fine. The judge decided to agree with prosecutors to keep him in jail for three more months as the investigation continues. Whelan's attorney said there is no evidence Whelan did anything wrong.

Whelan's attorney told reporters after the hearing that Russian authorities will keep him in jail for at least a year and then try to trade him for a Russian who is imprisoned in the United States.

The State Department has not commented.


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