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US national Whelan not sent to correctional facility so far - attorney

He is sentenced in Russia to 16 years in prison for espionage

MOSCOW, July 3. /TASS/. US national Paul Whelan sentenced in Russia for espionage remains at a temporary detention facility in Moscow, despite his sentence entering into force, Whelan's attorney Olga Karlova told TASS.

"So far, he is at the Lefortovo detention facility. We don't know so far when he will be sent to a correctional facility and to which one. Sometimes this process takes a long time," she informed. Karlova explained that Whelan's sentence had entered into force on July 3.

Earlier, another Whelan's attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told TASS that the defense team had chosen not to appeal his sentence. "We decided to act so in order not to waste time. Those two or three months that the complaint’s consideration would take could be now spent on talks and arranging Whelan’s exchange for Russians convicted in the United States," the lawyer said, noting that "there are no legal obstacles for this after the sentence came into effect."

Earlier lawyers suggested exchanging Whelan for Russian nationals Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko serving their prison terms in the United States. Their lawyer Alexei Tarasov said the handover of his clients to Russia was a political issue.

On June 16, the Moscow City Court found Whelan guilty of spying against Russia and sentenced him to 16 years in prison. Whelan pleaded not guilty dismissing the criminal case as provocation by Russian special services.

Former US marine Paul Whelan, who also holds British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, was detained by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on December 28, 2018 in Moscow while on an alleged spy mission.