MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. The public monitoring commission of Russia’s republic of Mordovia plans to visit US citizen Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia on espionage charges, in the penal colony following his attorneys’ complaint that they cannot get in touch with their client, the commission’s chairman, Valery Krutov, told TASS on Tuesday.
"We have received the attorneys’ inquiry. They say that Whelan is out of touch. We will plan a visit [to the colony]. Today, he was visited by the ambassador. [Whelan] is safe and sound. Everything is OK with him, we have received no complaints from him," Krutov said.
Earlier in the day, Whelan’s attorney Olga Karlova filed an inquiry with Mordovia’s public monitoring commission. According to Karlova, "it is necessary to visit Whelan because there has been no information about him for nearly ten days." She noted that his attorney and his family "know nothing about his health condition."
On December 28, 2018, Whelan, who holds US, UK, Canadian and Irish citizenship, was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in a room of the Metropol Hotel in Moscow while on an alleged spy mission.
The FSB opened a criminal case against him on charges of espionage under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code. On June 15, 2020, the Moscow City Court found Whelan guilty of spying against Russia and sentenced him to 16 years in a high-security colony. Whelan is serving his sentence in Correctional Colony No. 17 in Mordovia.