American accused of espionage in Russia sentenced to 16 years in prison
On Monday, June 15, the Moscow City Court sentenced US citizen Paul Whelan to 16 years in a maximum security prison, finding him guilty of espionage. This was reported by Russian news agencies, writes "Voice of America".
50-year-old Paul Whelan, a citizen of the United States, Britain, Canada and Ireland, said after the announcement of the verdict that he considers him political and intends to appeal. He also turned to the authorities of those countries of which he is a citizen, asking for help.
US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan attended the Moscow City Court to announce the sentence to Paul Whelan. After the verdict was announced, the diplomat told reporters that he was disappointed by this decision of the Russian court and will seek the release of Whelan.
Before the verdict was passed, Rebecca Ross, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Russia, posted a message on Twitter, stressing that if Whelan “was found guilty after this secret trial without any evidence, the world would see the Russian judicial system ridicule the very idea of justice.”
Reaction in the USA
"The United States is outraged by today's decision of the Russian court to convict US citizen Paul Whelan after a secret process, with secret evidence and without proper opportunities for defense witnesses," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement, writes "Voice of America".
“We are seriously concerned that Mr. Whelan was not provided with honest guarantees, which Russia was obliged to provide him in accordance with its international human rights obligations,” the document says.
The head of the Department of State emphasizes: “The treatment of the Russian authorities with Paul Whelan is outrageous. Russia did not provide Mr. Whelan the opportunity to be heard during an unbiased investigation before an independent and objective trial; during his detention she endangered his life, ignoring his state of health for a long time, and dishonestly kept him isolated from his family and friends. ”
“We demand the immediate release of Paul Whelan,” said the head of the Department of State.
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- December 28, 2018 in Moscow FSB officers detained US citizen Paul Whelan on suspicion of espionage. At the same time, Russia refused to explain what became the basis for the arrest and making of such charges.
- Detained brother David Whelan claims Paul came to Russia for his friend’s wedding, and insists on the relative's innocence.
- In April 2019, it turned out that Whelan is also a citizen of Great Britain and Canada. He was born in Canada to two British subjects - Edward and Rosemary Whelan. He also received Canadian citizenship by birth right in the country, but his brother, David Whelan, does not know whether Paul retained Canadian citizenship. Subsequently, the man moved to the United States, where he also received citizenship.
- In May, Whelan told the judge that wants to complain about his investigator from the security service of the FSB of Russia, arguing that “his actions, insults, harassment and threats to life are unprofessional and should not be allowed. “This is revenge for sanctions, there is absolutely no certainty in the case,” Whelan said in court.
- Early July Whelan complained about health. According to the diplomatic mission, Whelan is provided with basic medical care in jail, but it is not enough. The Russian side rejected the request for admission of an external doctor to the American for consultation.
- According to the brother of the detainee, David Whelan, Paul was friends with the FSB officer Ilya Yatsenko for many years. According to David, it’s Ilya could set up an american.
- The brother of an American detained in Russia spoke about Paul Whelan.
- Russian prosecutors demanded punishment for Paul Whelan in the form 18 years imprisonment, stating that his guilt was fully proven in court.
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