- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2019

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine jailed in Russia on suspicion of spying, was ordered Thursday to remain held through Dec. 29, a year and a day since he was arrested in Moscow.

A closed-door hearing held at Lefortovo Court in Moscow resulted in a judge agreeing with investigators to keep Mr. Whelan in custody, several regional media outlets reported.

Mr. Whelan, a 49-year-old Michigan resident, was arrested at a Moscow hotel on Dec. 28, 2019. He was subsequently accused of espionage and has been behind bars for nearly 10 months and counting.


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Speaking in court during a public session Thursday from a cage reserved for criminal defendants, Mr. Whelan maintained his innocence and reiterated concerns about his ongoing detainment.

Russia says it caught James Bond on a spy mission. In reality, they abducted Mr. Bean on holiday,” Mr. Whelan told the court, as recorded on video by a BBC correspondent in the court.



“My human rights are being violated, my life threatened, medical issues are being denied, and my property stolen,” Mr. Whelan continued in the video clip. “No evidence of espionage has been provided, as it does not exist.”

The U.S. State Department has similarly called on Russia to either provide evidence to support keeping Mr. Whelan imprisoned or to promptly release him from custody.

The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan-sponsored resolution on Tuesday this week effectively proposing the same.

“We have repeatedly asked the Russian government to give Paul Whelan a fair and transparent judicial process to no avail,” said Rep. Haley Stevens, a Michigan Democrat and the House resolution’s main sponsor. “If Russia cannot produce any evidence after keeping an American citizen detained for almost a year, they must release him immediately.”

Mr. Whelan, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was employed as a security director for a Michigan-based automotive parts company at the time of his arrest. He was born in Canada to British parents before moving to Michigan as a child, and he holds Canadian, British, American and Irish citizenship.

Russian investigators allege Mr. Whelan was arrested while possessing a USB drive containing classified information. Addressing reporters at a previous court hearing, Mr. Whelan said something was placed in his pocket by a Russian acquaintance moments before his arrest.

Mr. Whelan’s trial is currently scheduled to start in 2020.

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