Sunday, December 5, 2021

Former US Marine Whelan jailed for continuing fight for transfer from Russia

Paul Whelan, a former US Marine convicted of espionage by Russia, will continue to fight for his transfer to the United States despite losing a court appeal on Monday, Interfax news agency quoted his lawyer as saying.

Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was sentenced last year to 16 years in prison. He denies spying and said that he was set up in a sting operation. Washington has demanded his release.

Whelan had challenged a regional court’s refusal to hear his case to be sent home, but an appeals court in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 km east of Moscow, upheld the original decision.

Before the hearing, one of Whelan’s lawyers, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said that talks between Washington and Moscow to agree to his release were no longer taking place, but that his team would continue to seek deportation through other channels.

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“To the best of my knowledge, all talks about Whelan’s possible exchange, extradition or pardon are not taking place right now, everything is suspended,” Zherebenkov was quoted as saying.

“That’s why we’re trying to do it that way. I hope our justice system expels him.”

However, Zherebenkov said that extradition is unlikely without the US side recognizing the Russian conviction.

Whelan has said he hopes to be freed as part of a prisoner swap, a topic President Vladimir Putin discussed with his US counterpart Joe Biden at a summit in June.

Moscow said Whelan was caught red-handed with classified information in a Moscow hotel room where Federal Security Service agents detained him on December 28, 2018.

Whelan said he was on a wedding and vacation in Russia and was set up by a Russian man whom he thought was a friend.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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