Who Is Paul Whelan: The fate of another American prisoner, Paul Whelan, was made clear by the release of Brittney Griner, the American basketball player held captive in Russia and exchanged on Thursday for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The former Marine was detained in Moscow in 2018, and U.S. officials believe they are still attempting to gain his release. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. However, they assert that because the Russians are treating his case differently, he was not included in the discussions leading up to Thursday’s prisoner swap.
Who Is Paul Whelan?
Paul Whelan, a 52-year-old former Marine working in corporate security, was found guilty of espionage and is currently incarcerated in a Russian jail for 16 years.
Whelan, a former sheriff’s deputy who had citizenship in four nations—the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland—served numerous deployments in Iraq while a member of the active-duty reserve. Records from the military and the court show that he was expelled from the Marines in 2008 for bad behavior after being found guilty of theft-related crimes.
The following decade was spent by Whelan working as a corporate security specialist. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. At the time of his arrest, he was the corporate security director for BorgWarner, a Michigan-based producer of automotive parts.
How Did Whelan End Up In Russia?
In a trial that he claims were politically motivated and heightened relations between the United States and Russia, Whelan was sentenced to 16 years of hard labor in a Russian jail in June 2020 for spying.
When he traveled to Russia in 2018 for a wedding, according to his attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov, his client unknowingly acquired a flash drive holding “state secrets.” Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. According to foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Whelan was “caught red-handed,” during a spy assignment.
Whelan, detained on December 28 in a hotel in Moscow, claimed that he believed the flash drive he got from a friend contained vacation pictures. According to Whelan, his family, and the U.S. government, the accusations against him are untrue, and he was set up.
On the day the decision was made, Whelan expressed his belief that it was inevitable and yelled from a glass-enclosed section within the courtroom that Russia was “taking political prisoners because they feel powerless in the world.”
How Long Has Paul Whelan Been Detained In A Russian Penal Colony?
Whelan has been held captive in Russia for about four years, and in August 2020, he was transferred to prison camp IK-17, located around 210 miles east of Moscow in the Mordovia region.
In a November 2020 interview with ABC News, Whelan called the location “very, very old. It’s bleak. Very deteriorated. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. The ex-Marine claimed to be residing in “very congested” quarters and calculated that his building contained between 50 and 60 individuals. He said that his fellow prisoners were “very nice.”
In a 2021 interview with CNN, Whelan referred to the textile factory he worked in a while imprisoned as a “sweatshop.” Even though his morning routine is repetitive and starts at six in the morning, he noted that writing letters and reading books in English helped him get through it.
He also revealed to CNN that he had a chronic cough and mentioned that at the colony, getting medical attention was challenging and often impossible due to guards.
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Whelan has experienced changing circumstances since being taken into Russian custody. He spent a month in solitary prison last year. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. When Whelan could not contact his family for more than a week, and Russian authorities said he had been taken to a hospital, worries about him resurfaced in November.
According to the Associated Press, he called his parents on December 2 in what Whelan’s brother described as a “proof of life” call.
Why Was He Not Allowed To Go?
After hearing Griner’s release on Thursday, U.S. officials expressed regret over their failure to secure Whelan’s release but assured everyone that they were still working on it.
In light of the nature of the espionage charges brought against Whelan, President Biden stated on Thursday that those attempts have so far been unsuccessful. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. Biden described these espionage allegations as “completely bogus charges.”
In addition to promising to “keep negotiating in good faith for Paul Whelan’s release,” Biden stated that his government had “not forgotten about Paul Whelan.”
Why Do They Never Give Up, He Declared?
In a well-publicized prisoner swap with the United States, Russia released Brittney Griner. Here are the implications for remaining American hostages in the future. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. Rich Matthews of The Washington Post provided the video.
In the meantime, Whelan expressed his “deep disappointment” on Thursday that the government had not done more to achieve his release, “particularly as the fourth anniversary of my arrest is approaching.” He told CNN over the phone from the isolated Russian correctional colony where he is being held, “I was caught for a crime that never happened. “I don’t know why I’m still here,” the speaker said.
Paul Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, claimed in a statement that American officials had informed them on Wednesday that Paul would not take part in the deal that released Griner and that he was not optimistic about the prospect of seeing his brother freed.
“It is obvious that the Russian government would not accept any concessions from the U.S. government in exchange for Paul Whelan. And until that changes, Paul will stay behind bars,” he added, cheering Griner’s release.
Whelan’s Russian attorneys also expressed regret that their client was left out of the swap. According to sources, the American government reportedly tried to arrange the release of Griner and Whelan in return for Bout throughout the summer.
According to his attorney Olga Karlova, “there was a lot of curiosity about this, and there was optimism [that] Paul and his family had anticipated he would finally return home to his extremely elderly parents.”
We don’t know the specific reason [he hasn’t been included], but it’s possible that they decided to hang onto him longer since he is too valuable to swap for.
According to a national security official, Whelan was never really an option for the Russians throughout the discussions over releasing Griner. The Russians rejected all of the suggestions U.S. officials made to them because of the seriousness of the espionage allegations against him.
“We didn’t have a choice in this case as to which American to bring home. Brittney Griner was the only American that could have been sent home, so either she could have been brought home or not, the official stated on the phone with reporters while requesting anonymity.
Is There Still Room For Discussion On Whelan’s Release, According To Officials?
Whelan has now been forgotten in two separate prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Washington. Likewise, now we can see people searching for Who Is Paul Whelan. Convicted of narcotics smuggling and given a 20-year prison term in the United States, Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was traded for American Trevor Reed, a former Marine apprehended in 2019.