- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2020

Paul Whelan, an American citizen that has been detained in Russia since December 2018 on espionage charges, was taken to a Russian hospital Thursday for emergency surgery.

Russia informed the U.S. embassy of Mr. Whelan’s condition and hernia surgery Thursday and said that U.S. ambassador to Russia John Sullivan spoke with Mr. Whelan upon his return to prison the following day, embassy spokesperson Rebecca Ross tweeted.

“We will be monitoring Paul’s progress closely, and we hope he will recover quickly,” she tweeted

Mr. Whelan, 50, has been jailed in Russia since being arrested at a Moscow hotel in late 2018 and accused of espionage. He has denied spying and said he was “set up.”

Russian officials have said that Mr. Whelan was arrested while carrying a USB drive containing classified information. Mr. Whelan has stated that it had been slipped into his pockets moments earlier by an acquaintance he identified as being employed by Russian security services.



Mr. Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, said his health had taken a “turn for the worst” Thursday evening, but the surgery was successful.

“There are no additional details as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused to answer any questions from the US Embassy about Paul’s condition without a diplomatic note,” he said in a statement to The Washington Times.

“We continue to be concerned for Paul’s health, particularly now that, as he recuperates, he may be more susceptible to other illnesses or infections. The coronavirus is spreading through Lefortovo. Lawyers visiting the prison must now wear gowns and hoods, not just masks,” Mr. Whelan explained.

Ms. Ross said that the detained American’s health “has been our greatest concern throughout his 17 [months] of incarceration in [Russia], all without any evidence of a crime.”

“We’ve repeatedly requested Paul be allowed an outside, English-speaking doctor, yet he’s been denied necessary medical attention,” Ms. Ross tweeted.

She alleged that Russian authorities waited until Mr. Whelan’s hernia condition was “life-threatening” to provide the former U.S. Marine with appropriate medical attention. “

“That is unacceptable and dangerous,” Ms. Ross said.

Russian prosecutors have asked the court to sentence Mr. Whelan for 18 years. The court is expected to deliver a verdict on June 15.

Andrew Blake contributed to this story.

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