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Brother of Paul Whelan says detention hearing due in late May

According to David Whelan, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited Paul on April 30

NEW YORK, May 6. /TASS/. A detention hearing of Paul Whelan, an American charged with espionage in Russia, is expected to take place in late May, Paul’s brother David Whelan told TASS in an email on Monday.

"He will have a detention hearing in late May [probably May 23 or 24, according to Judge Ryabtsev's docket] and is likely to remain in Lefortovo for another two to three months to enable continued FSB pressure," the email reads.

According to David Whelan, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited Paul on April 30. "Consular visits from the UK, Canada, and Ireland are currently planned so that Paul will be seen once per country over the next three months," the brother added.

"He is still unable to get letters from outside the prison. Paul recently received 3 of the letters US consular staff left at the prison on March 15," David Whelan noted.

Whelan case

According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28, 2018, while on a spy mission. The FSB Investigative Department opened an investigation under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage), which carries a punishment of ten to 20 years in prison.

Apart from US citizenship, Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports.

Whelan, 48, is corporate security director for automotive parts supplier BorgWarner. According to the Washington Post, he enlisted in the US Marines in 1994 and "rose through the ranks to become a staff sergeant, serving two tours in Iraq, in 2004 and 2006." However, Whelan "was discharged for bad conduct in 2008 after being convicted of several charges related to larceny.".