Paul Whelan, an American arrested in Russia. (Associated Press)
Overseas Network, January 22, 2018 - On December 28, 2018, Russia arrested Paul Whelan, an American, in Moscow on suspicion of espionage, and then formally filed criminal proceedings against him. On the 21st local time, the family of Whelan said that the pre-trial hearing against Whelan would be held on the 22nd, and they were collecting legal defence fees for the people of Whelan.
According to Russian news agency Tass, in an e-mail to Tass, Whelans brother, David Whelan, said the family had launched a crowd-raising campaign to help Whelan pay for legal defence. Now that Whelan has begun to get the support of the consulate, we know that his health has been concerned by the local consulate and that his basic rights have been guaranteed, David said.
Tomorrow (22) will be a pre-trial hearing in the Moscow City Court, David said in an e-mail. Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Russia will attend the public part of the hearing. In addition, he added that the embassy had been discussing with the Russian side and meeting again with Whelan since the 17th, and they also looked forward to the meeting as soon as possible.
Shortly after the Russian arrest of Whelan, the United States asked to visit Whelan. According to Xinhua earlier reports, the Russian government approved the U.S. visiting request on the 4th.
In the face of the charges against Whelan, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo has publicly expressed the hope that the Russian side will provide more relevant information to clarify the reasons for Whelans accusation. If unreasonable, he will be asked to be released back to the United States immediately. Whelans brother David also made a statement on behalf of his family to defend Whelans innocence. The statement referred to Whelan as a retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps who attended a wedding in Moscow when he was arrested.
According to the Tass News Agency, Whelans detention lasted until the end of February. According to Russian law, whenever convicted of espionage, Whelan may be sentenced to 10 to 20 yearsimprisonment.
Source: Overseas Network Responsible Editor: Li Hang_BJS4645