Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan imprisoned for 16 years in Russia after conviction for espionage

Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan jailed for 16 years in Russia after conviction for espionage

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A previous U.S. Marine kept in Russia on suspicion of spying was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison, according to state media reports and the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

Paul Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was apprehended in the Russian capital at the end of December 2018. He was implicated of espionage, a charge he rejects.

Whelan’s defense stated they would appeal the choice within 10 days, according to Russian news company, Interfax.

“Today, #PaulWhelan was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison in Russia,” Rebecca Ross, representative at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, tweeted associating the remarks to the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John J. Sullivan.

“This secret trial in which no evidence was produced is an egregious violation of human rights and international legal norms.”

Ross consequently tweeted that the ambassador has actually required that Whelan be launched right away and thinks about the conviction a mockery of justice.

“There was no evidence recited by the judge that justified the detention that he’s already been subjected to, which is a year and a half,” Sullivan informed reporters outside the court, according to The Associated Press.

“I am disappointed, crestfallen, outraged at what I’ve just heard.”

Spying charges bring a jail sentence of as much as 20 years in Russia.

Paul Whelan, a previous U.S. Marine implicated of espionage and apprehended in Russia, listens to his attorneys while standing inside an accuseds’ cage throughout a hearing at a court in Moscow in January.Mladen Antonov / AFP – Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated Monday that the United States was “outraged” by the conviction “after a secret trial, with secret evidence, and without appropriate allowances for defense witnesses.”

Pompeo stated Whelan’s treatment at the hands of Russian authorities had actually been “appalling.”

“Russia failed to provide Mr. Whelan with a fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal; and during his detention has put his life at risk by ignoring his long-standing medical condition; and unconscionably kept him isolated from family and friends,” Pompeo stated.

Whelan’s sibling, David Whelan, informed MSNBC after his detention that he remained in Russia to go to a wedding event however never ever made it to the event. He likewise stated the household had actually discovered Whelan had actually been apprehended from online report.

Whelan has actually been apprehended in Russia for over 17 months. His trial has actually been closed to the general public due to the fact that Moscow states the case is categorized.

In action to his sibling’s conviction and sentencing on Monday, David Whelan stated the Russian legal system had actually been “found guilty of injustice.”

“We had hoped that the court might show some independence but, in the end, Russian judges are political, not legal, entities,” he stated in a declaration.

“We look to the U.S. government to immediately take steps to bring Paul home.”

Prior to the sentencing, David Whelan informed NBC News on Sunday that his sibling’s detention had actually been especially hard on his moms and dads who remain in their 80s.

“The longer the sentence, and the longer that he actually spends in the, in Russian prison, the less likely he will see my parents,” he informed NBC News, ahead of the decision.

“They’re obviously upset about that.”

David Whelan likewise stated that he was enthusiastic that a conviction would enable the U.S. and Russian federal governments to discuss his sibling’s release.

The condition of Whelan’s health stays uncertain after he was hurried to health center last month for an emergency situation operation, according to his sibling and the U.S. embassy.

David Whelan stated his sibling was required to health center for emergency situation hernia surgical treatment after struggling with “severe” stomach discomfort.

Ross, the Embassy spokesperson, implicated Russian authorities of waiting till his condition was “life-threatening” to offer him medical attention.

“We’ve repeatedly requested Paul be allowed an outside, English-speaking doctor, yet he’s been denied necessary medical attention,” she tweeted.

Pompeo likewise weighed in stating it was “unacceptable” for Whelan to be rejected medical treatment till his condition ended up being “dire.”

“We demand Paul’s release,” Pompeo tweeted on May 30.

Hayley Walker and Micki Fahner contributed.

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