[Paul Whelan] 200 Days in Prison

David Whelan davidpwhelan at gmail.com
Wed Jul 10 08:12:04 EDT 2019


In one week [on 7/16/2019], Paul Whelan will have spent 200 days in Russian
prison.  It's hard to imagine that an innocent American tourist can be held
for so long without any show of evidence or substantiation of the
unbelievable charges against him.  His family continues to work for his
freedom.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov's statements at the start of the last week
touched on Paul's freedom. [https://tass.ru/politika/6616742]  His
suggestion of trade possibilities - for Russians in American jails, for a
return of diplomatic properties seized by the Obama administration in 2016 [
https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/07/russia-us-compounds/533988/
]- showed that Paul's case is percolating at higher levels in the Russian
government.  Though he later hedged on his comments about Paul [
https://ria.ru/20190701/1556093728.html] - repeating his position from
January that any decision will have to wait until Paul's inevitable
sentencing [https://www.interfax.ru/russia/645143] - it was a clear
indication from Russia authorities that Paul is being held for political
reasons, to extract something from the U.S. government.

Paul continues to be monitored by consular staff.  The UK Consul General
Colin Wells and his staff saw Paul on July 4th.  U.S. Embassy staff saw
Paul June 27 and have been granted  a visit on July 11 by the Russian
Foreign Ministry.  Consular officials continue to raise concerns about
Paul's medical care and the rejection by the Russian Foreign Ministry of a
request to see an external doctor or to verify assertions that Paul's
health is being managed.  [
https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1143832606993276929 |
https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1145654307372638208 ]  The Russian
Foreign Ministry has denied receiving a request to see Paul's prison
medical records [https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1146706909573128193
] and the prison authority has denied Paul has unaddressed medical issues. [
https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1147109539990376448 |
https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1147109887438151681 ]  This is
exactly the sort of uncertainty about Paul's predicament that concerns us.
The FSB investigator's continued interference with Paul's ability to
communicate - with consular officials, with his family - makes it difficult
to be certain what the truth of the situation is.

Paul's sister, Elizabeth, will return to Washington D.C. next week to
continue to lobby for Congressional action and Department of State
engagement in Paul's case.  I'll be joining her for a few days to help
press the unfairness of Paul's continued wrongful detention.  We will
continue to seek his freedom and return to his family.

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