Lawmaker to Call for Renewed Push to Free Paul Whelan, U.S. Marine Jailed in Russia

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Politics|Concerns turn astir the plight of a erstwhile U.S. Marine imprisoned successful Russia

Paul Whelan, a erstwhile  Marine who was detained and accused of espionage, held a motion   past  twelvemonth  arsenic  helium  stood wrong  a defendants' cage during his verdict proceeding  successful  Moscow, Russia.
Credit...Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Julian E. Barnes

  • July 29, 2021, 9:18 a.m. ET

Paul N. Whelan, the erstwhile U.S. Marine sentenced successful Russia to 16 years successful situation connected espionage charges, has not been capable to interaction his household oregon the U.S. Embassy since July 4, and relatives and members of Congress are progressively acrophobic astir his well-being.

“He’s not been heard from,” said Representative Haley Stevens, Democrat of Michigan who represents Mr. Whelan. “We haven’t heard from him, oregon truly been capable to speech to him since the opening of July.”

Ms. Stevens and household members of some Mr. Whelan and Trevor Reed, different erstwhile Marine sentenced to situation successful Russia, are acceptable to clasp a quality league to speech astir the situation conditions and propulsion for a caller legislature solution calling for their release.

In aboriginal June, Mr. Whelan did an interrogation with CNN, aft which Russian authorities restricted his entree to cellphones, though helium was inactive allowed to telephone his family. President Biden raised the cases of Mr. Whelan and Mr. Reed during his June acme with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Mr. Whelan made a telephone to his parents successful aboriginal July and past a 2nd connected July 4.

“At that clip helium said, ‘If you don’t perceive from maine time there’s been immoderate trouble,’” said Elizabeth Whelan, his sister.

Since past neither the U.S. Embassy successful Moscow nor Mr. Whelan’s parents person been capable to interaction him, Ms. Whelan said.

The grounds against Mr. Whelan is thin, and thing presented by the Russian prosecutors has convinced American officials that helium was engaged successful spying connected Russia.

Mr. Whelan was arrested successful precocious 2018 and after his sentencing past year, helium was placed successful IK-17 enactment campy successful Mordovia, astir 8 hours from Moscow.

Ms. Whelan said that they presume her member has been returned to the campy aft being moved to a infirmary for attraction of an limb injury. But Ms. Stevens said it was not wide wherever the Russians were holding him now. She besides said that helium had been enactment successful solitary confinement.

Ms. Stevens, the congresswoman, said: “The world is there’s been nary interaction with him. This is reaching different pivotal moment.”

Congress passed a solution connected Mr. Whelan successful 2019, but a caller measurement is successful order, Ms. Stevens said. She added that a ballot would hardly unit Mr. Whelan’s merchandise but it would show bipartisan absorption to Moscow’s tactics and get “under the Russian skin.”

Ms. Stevens said that Moscow was trying to usage Mr. Whelan and Mr. Reed for its ain advantage.

“Americans perfectly cannot beryllium utilized arsenic governmental pawns for different countries, period, extremity of story, not acceptable,” she said. “This is the Russians engaged successful the acheronian arts of governmental interference. I deliberation that this is portion of an effort to artifact with the interior science of our governmental structure.”

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