“The US is deeply concerned about Whelan’s situation.” Last Minute UK, Russia headlines and events
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the United States was concerned about American citizen Paul Whelan being detained in Russia and that no information had come from Moscow about Whelan’s condition or whereabouts.
Kirby issued a statement on the matter after his family said they had not heard from former Marine Paul Whelan since November 23, but had heard that Whelan had been taken to the prison hospital.
Paul Whelan, a holder of American, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in Russia in December 2018 and convicted of espionage two years later.
“We are trying to find out more about Whelan’s condition and whereabouts. Unfortunately, we have no up-to-date information on his whereabouts or his condition. This worries us deeply, we share the concerns of the Whelan family,” Kirby said. told reporters.
“We are deeply concerned about the lack of information and miscommunication with Paul,” Kirby said.
Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence on charges of espionage in a prison in Mordovia.
His family said this week they have not heard from Whelan since Nov. 23 and have received vague reports from prison officials that he has been transferred to the prison hospital.
His brother, David Whelan, quoted prison officials as saying that Whelan was transferred to the prison hospital on November 17, the day after he was visited by US and Irish diplomats. David Whelan said in an email sent today that Paul spoke to his parents every day between November 17 and 23 and did not provide information about his transfer to the prison hospital.
His family hasn’t heard from Paul Whelan since Thanksgiving November 24th.
“Usually Paul calls for special occasions, but he didn’t call for Thanksgiving or Dad’s birthday. It’s unusual,” said David Whelan.
David Whelan also recalled that when he was previously transferred to the prison hospital, Paul always reported it on the phone.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that U.S. consular officials last saw Whelan on November 16.
“Since then, we have not had any connection, and we asked for it. We deal with this every day,” Blinken told MSNBC.
US contacted Russia over Whelan and Griner
America is in contact with Russia regarding the extradition of Paul Whelan and American basketball star Britney Griner. However, US officials noted that Russia had not given a “serious response” to any of the US proposals.
Basketball player Griner, who was arrested in February after cannabis cartridges were found in his suitcase and sentenced to nine years in prison for drugs, was transferred this month to another prison in Russia. During the trial in Russia, Griner stated that he used cannabis cartridges to relieve the pain of sports injuries and that he had no intention of violating Russian law.
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