Michigan man Paul Whelan sentenced to 16 years in prison on spying charges in Russia

A Michigan man arrested in Russia on suspicion of being a spy has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Paul Whelan, 50, was found guilty and sentenced Monday.

In the ongoing trial, we’ve learned Paul Whelan’s arrest and subsequent 18-month stay in Russia’s spy prison happened because a so-called Russian friend didn’t want to pay him for a couple of iPhones. They were valued at about $1,400.

Paul Whelan’s brother David spoke to Local 4 early Monday morning about the sentence.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that he had any sentence at all,” said David Whelan. “He should have been acquitted, there’s no evidence ... .”

The last time David Whelan saw his brother was in October of 2018. He had a message for his brother this morning, saying “stay strong and we will continue to work for you.”

Meanwhile, Paul Whelan is back in his prison cell after emergency hernia surgery two weeks ago.

The Whelan family is left hoping the diplomats, who have only been able to visit him sporadically to date, will now be able to do their work quickly.

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