NEW YORK, June 15./TASS/. The relatives of Paul Whelan, sentenced to 16 years in jail for espionage against Russia, expect that US President Donald Trump would act to bring him home, Whelan’s brother David said in a letter e-mailed to a TASS correspondent on Monday.
"We will look to President Trump, who alone can act to bring Paul home. We hope he will do so swiftly," he wrote. He also expressed hope that the US government would "immediately take steps to bring Paul home."
David Whelan maintained that the sentence from the Moscow City Court was politicized. "We understand that Paul's lawyers may appeal this decision within the next two weeks. We hope that, in their continued search for justice for Paul, that the appeal is successful," he went on to say.
Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Whelan faced charges that were "proven in and accepted by the court." At the same time, he declined to comment on the court’s decision and Whelan’s future.
The United States is outraged by the verdict of US citizen and former marine Paul Whelan over charges of espionage against Russia and demands that he be immediately freed, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement issued Monday.
"The United States is outraged by the decision of a Russian court today to convict U.S. citizen Paul Whelan," he underlined. "We demand Paul Whelan’s immediate release," Pompeo added.
On Monday, the Moscow City Court found Whelan guilty of spying against Russia and sentenced him to 16 years in prison. US citizen 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 a spy mission. A criminal investigation was launched against him on espionage charges carrying a punishment of up to 20 years behind bars.
A deal to swap Whelan for Russian nationals Viktor Bout or Konstantin Yaroshenko incarcerated in American prisons will be looked into after the sentence comes into effect, Whelan’s attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told TASS on Monday.