Detained in Russia since 2018 | American Paul Whelan feels “abandoned” by Washington

(London) Former US Marine Paul Whelan, imprisoned for espionage in Russia since 2018, feels “abandoned” by the United States, which he accuses of “treason” for not having managed to repatriate him, in a interview published Wednesday by the BBC.

A former non-commissioned officer in the Marine Corps, this 53-year-old man is serving a 16-year prison sentence in a case that the person concerned and Washington consider to be fabricated.

At the beginning of December, the American State Department assured that it had made a “substantial” proposal to Moscow for his release, which was rejected.

“I know the United States is making all kinds of proposals, but that’s not what the Russians want. So they go back and forth, like they’re throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks,” Mr Whelan told the BBC. “The problem is, it’s my life that’s slipping away while they’re doing this. It’s been five years! “.

The United States and Russia accuse each other of detaining their nationals for political purposes. Several prisoner exchanges have taken place in recent years, but Paul Whelan has never been involved.

The ex-Marine believes that he “could have been back” home “years ago” and that his file “goes down to the bottom of the pile each time”. “They just abandoned me,” he told the BBC.

The inmate, who also has British, Irish and Canadian nationalities, spends his days sewing clothes and hats in a prison factory. He said it was -15 degrees inside the prison, where he said he was recently attacked by a fellow inmate.

Paul Whelan was a security officer for an American group selling automobile parts when he was arrested in Moscow in December 2018.

During his major annual press conference in mid-December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he “hoped” to reach an agreement with the United States on Americans imprisoned in Russia, Paul Whelan as well as journalist Evan Gershkovich.

“These agreements must be mutually acceptable and suitable for both parties,” he insisted, referring to contacts on this subject with the United States.

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