Members of Congress demand Russia releases Novi man, Paul Whelan

Paul Whelan imprisoned for last 9 months on espionage accusations

NOVI, Mich. – Members of Congress demanded Russia release Paul Whelan, the Novi resident accused of being a spy.

Thursday morning, Congress joined Whelan's sister to speak out after new concerns about Whelan's health have come out.

RELATED: Brother says Paul Whelan abused by guard, moved to dirtier cell in Russian prison

It's what the Whelan family has worked hard for -- the public condemnation for Russia coming from Congress. 

Whelan was arrested in late December in Moscow on charges of espionage. His family says he's innocent and that Russian officials have made it difficult to contact him or ensure fair treatment.

Whelan isn't allowed phone calls or contact with the outside world.

His sister, Elizabeth Whelan, has been walking the halls of Congress over the past nine months looking for support from politicians considering her brother is -- for all intents and purposes -- a political prisoner. 

She thanked the State Department and U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman for their efforts. She said she's grateful for congressional backing attempting to force the Russians to release her brother.

Sen. Gary Peters is sponsoring a nonbinding resolution calling for Paul Whelan's release. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote soon.

Most of the Michigan congressional delegation was there for Thursday's press conference. The unifying call is to have the Russian government at least say what evidence it has against Whelan.

Watch the report from Local 4 News at Noon below:

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