Russia Extends Detention of US Man in Spy Case
A Russian court on Tuesday extended until late March the pre-trial detention of a US man already held in jail for a year despite Western requests for his release.
Paul Whelan, who also has Irish, Canadian and British citizenship, was arrested on December 28 last year for allegedly receiving state secrets.
On Christmas eve the Moscow City Court extended his detention by another three months, to March 29, a court spokesman told AFP.
He risks up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Whelan, 49, has denounced the case against him and said he is being held “hostage” for a possible prisoner exchange.
On Monday, US charge d’affaires Bart Gorman and diplomats from Canada, Ireland, and Britain visited Whelan in Moscow’s high-security Lefortovo prison, bringing him food and Christmas greetings from family and supporters.
“It’s two days before Christmas. A holiday Paul Whelan will spend alone in Lefortovo,” the US embassy quoted Gorman as saying.
“In the past 12 months, Paul has not heard his parents’ voices. Bring Paul some Christmas cheer and let him call home.”