US citizen gets 16 years in Russian prison for espionage

Xinhua
The Moscow City Court sentenced United States citizen Paul Whelan to 16 years in jail yesterday after finding him guilty of spying in Russia, local media reported.
Xinhua

The Moscow City Court sentenced United States citizen Paul Whelan to 16 years in jail yesterday after finding him guilty of spying in Russia, local media reported.

The prosecution asked the court to imprison Whelan, a former US Marine, for 18 years, just short of the 20-year maximum term for the charge.

At the court, Whelan announced his intention to appeal the verdict and claimed he was framed. Whelan’s lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov told reporters they will decide whether to request a pardon or an exchange for Russian nationals Konstantin Yaroshenko or Viktor Bout — both jailed in the US — after the appeal.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow has repeatedly offered options for prisoner swaps to Washington and its position remains unchanged.

Whelan, 50, was detained in Moscow by the Russian Federal Security Service on suspicion of espionage in December of 2018, although his family said he traveled to Moscow only to attend a friend’s wedding. Before his detention, Whelan was head of the security service of a US firm that produces automobile parts. He also has British, Irish and Canadian citizenship.

Special Reports

Top