Paul Whelan, Ex-Marine Accused of Spying by Russia, Says he’s Been ‘Abused and Harassed’ in Russian Prison as his Detention is Extended

Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained on suspicion of spying, stands inside a defendants' cage as he attends a court hearing regarding the extension of his detention, in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2019. (Reuters)
Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained on suspicion of spying, stands inside a defendants’ cage as he attends a court hearing regarding the extension of his detention, in Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2019. (Reuters)

A Russian court has extended the detention of a former U.S. Marine arrested on espionage charges. The court ruled on Friday to keep Michigan resident Paul Whelan, who also holds British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, behind bars for three more months.

Whelan told reporters in court that he has been threatened and subjected to “abuses and harassment” in prison.

“I want to tell the world that I am a victim of political kidnap and ransom,” Whelan said to gathered television cameras from behind bars in the courtroom. “This is retaliation for sanctions. There is absolutely no legitimacy. I have been threatened. There are abuses and harassment that I am constantly subject to. There is a case for isolation. I have not had a shower in two weeks, I can’t use a barber I have to cut my own hair. I can’t have medical treatment, I can’t have dental treatment… This is typical POW Chapter 1 isolation technique. They are trying to run me down so that I will talk to them. This is Salem witch trial mentality and I am asking the world press to go to London, to go to Washington, to go to Dublin.”

The American was arrested in a hotel room in the Russian capital at the end of December and charged with espionage, which carries up to 20 years in prison in Russia. The court’s decision on Friday was the second time it had granted a three-month extension of Whelan’s arrest.

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SOURCE: CBS / AP