Suspected US spy Whelan not allowed phone calls, mail in Russian jail — brother

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NEW YORK, February 27. /TASS/. Paul Whelan, a US citizen detained in Russia on espionage charges, is not allowed to communicate by phone or mail while in Russia’s Lefortovo jail, his brother David Whelan has emailed to TASS.

According to David Whelan, no phone calls are permitted for his brother, even though other Lefortovo prisoners have phone access. Besides, “no personal letters are being given to Paul and “no mail is being allowed from Paul,” he said.

In addition, a house arrest was also not allowed, despite a space being offered by Paul’s lawyer.

“US consular officials are restricted in what and how they can communicate with Paul, meaning that he is unable to get full consular support,” David Whelan said.

“It is time for the US State Department to act to protect Paul’s rights and demand that the Russian government free Paul,” he added.

Whelan case

According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28, 2018, while on a spy mission. The FSB Investigative Department opened an investigation under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage), which carries a punishment of ten to 20 years in prison.

Apart from US citizenship, Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports.

Whelan, 48, is corporate security director for automotive parts supplier BorgWarner. According to the Washington Post, he enlisted in the US Marines in 1994 and “rose through the ranks to become a staff sergeant, serving two tours in Iraq, in 2004 and 2006.” However, Whelan “was discharged for bad conduct in 2008 after being convicted of several charges related to larceny.”.

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