[Paul Whelan] Rally for Arbitrarily Detained Americans

David Whelan davidpwhelan at gmail.com
Mon May 2 18:31:11 EDT 2022

Secretary of State Blinken called Elizabeth on Saturday.  We're grateful
that Secretary Blinken took the time to reassure us that the White House
remains focused on Paul's release.  Elizabeth also spoke with other
representatives from the State Department and was able to urge, yet again,
that the White House do whatever it can to bring Paul home.

Thank you for the coverage you gave Paul's case in the past week.  More
people are aware of his case than before.  If you are able, there will be a
rally on Wednesday, May 4, in Washington D.C., and you can catch up with
Elizabeth and talk more about our continued push for Paul's release.  It is
important that, as more and more Americans are arbitrarily detained, the
White House move more deliberately and quickly to solve these cases.  We
will continue to encourage them to do so.

Below is a press release sent out by Alexandra Zambrano Forseth, the
daughter and niece of 2 of the CITGO 6 held by Venezuela, with details for
the rally.  If you're available, I hope you will attend and speak to the
many families who will be attending.  While Paul's case is the most
important to our family, arbitrary detention is a growing problem for
American citizens.  There are plenty of stories to tell and many people to

Best, David.

*Press Release -------------------------------------------------*

*When*: May 4, 2022
Media avail from 9 am – 11am
Press Conference at 11:30 AM

*Where*: Lafayette Park, up against the k-rails that divide the park from
Pennsylvania Avenue

*What*: Family members of American hostages & wrongful detainees launch the
“*Bring Our Families Home Campaign*” & hold a demonstration in Lafayette
Park to call on the White House to take decisive action to bring their
loved ones home.

*Who*: Families of American Hostages & Wrongful Detainees

In-Person: Rusesabagina, Reed, Whelan, Zambrano, Heath, Shargi, Berry,
Denman, Tahbaz; Remote: Frerichs, Toledo, Pereira, Vadell, Namazi, and
several other families

*Quote for Record: *
“There are over 55 Americans currently being held hostage or wrongfully
detained overseas. They are being held because they have a US passport –
not for any other reason. We need the White House to use all the tools on
the table to bring our family members home. We are requesting to meet with
the White House to share our perspective and gain their support.”

*Background: *
We are a community of concerned family members & advocates for American
hostages & wrongful detainees. We have a common goal of campaigning for
their immediate release by any and all possible means.

There are over 55 Americans being held hostage (by a non-state actor) or
wrongfully detained (by a sovereign government) abroad. These Americans are
being held for no other reason than they hold American passports, and their
captors seek to use their arbitrary detentions as leverage in geopolitical
disputes with the United States.

At least 16 of these innocent Americans could come home immediately with
one tool - the trade of foreign nationals incarcerated in the US; in other
cases - it may take a combination of tools or a different tool altogether.
Regardless, without a final decision from the White House to put these
tools to use, our loved ones are left to rot in foreign jails with no end
in sight.

Last week, Trevor Reed was reunited with his family by the U.S. government
agreeing to the trade of a Russian national in U.S. custody. A large reason
that any decision was made in his case is that officials were shamed into
action by his family’s unfailing commitment to advocate for his release.
Families should not have to beg for the U.S. government to prioritize the
safety of its citizens. Yet, the reality is that families that get national
attention seem to get reunited and those that do not get left behind. This
reality is what has driven our families to join together and amplify the
advocacy for the release of our loved ones.

The families are requesting a meeting with the White House & call on
Congress to support the Biden Administration in taking decisive action to
bring wrongfully detained Americans home.

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