Rep. Haley Stevens joins fight to return Michigan man convicted of espionage in Russia back home

Paul Whelan convicted of espionage in Russia

Paul Whelan continues to be held by the Russian government. Now there is a renewed effort to free the Michigan native.

NOVI, Mich. – Concern continues to grow among friends and family members of Paul Whelan -- the man from Novi who was sentenced in Russia on espionage charges -- as he has reportedly not been heard from since July 4.

Whelan is serving a 16 year sentence in a Mordovian prison camp. He was arrested in Russia when he went to attend a wedding in December 2018. Russian security agents claimed he had possession of Zip drive with Russian agent information on it.

Rep. Haley Stevens spoke in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning about the efforts being made to bring Whelan back to Michigan. It is believed that Whelan may have gotten himself into trouble as a result of the surprise phone call he made to CNN.

“Paul has been made to work in an unheated garment factory six days a week and sleep in a bunkhouse with 17 other prisoners,” Stevens said. “He has been suffering from a repetitive motion injury in his arm from the work he is forced to perform in the garment factor. Paul is 51 years old and he is holding up as well as he could hope to under these circumstances. However, the fact remains that Paul is being held on false charges and every day he is in a Russian prison and away from his family is one day too many.”

Related: Michigan family hopeful Biden can help free Paul Whelan from Russian prison

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.