In a Russian jail, another prisoner assaulted Marine veteran Paul Whelan, who is serving a sixteen-year term for espionage.
A jail official characterized the assault as “very mild.”
With all the sharp tools in the workshop, including the shears that the other prisoner used, Whelan is worried that these assaults may happen at any moment and turn into something much worse.
While he recovers from the event, Whelan has been in touch with the United States Department of State. The assault on Whelan was also verified by the Mordovia regional jail administration, who also added that guards had acted swiftly to halt “the unlawful conduct.” Whelan had an injury under one of his eyes when both guys were transported to the medical bay.
According to Interfax, the Mordovia regional jail service acknowledged the occurrence and is conducting more investigations before reporting it to the authorities. “A criminal from Turkey arguing over political issues” allegedly hit Whelan, according to an anonymous source “familiar with the incident.”
Whelan was found guilty of espionage in 2020 after his detention in Russia in 2018. His alleged espionage status has been contested by the United States government, which has labeled him as “wrongfully arrested.” A prisoner swap between the two nations is said to include the eventual release of both him and American journalist Evan Gershkovich, who is also suspected of espionage. The court prolonged Gershkovich’s pre-trial custody until the end of January on Tuesday. Gershkovich rejects the allegations of espionage.
As he was visiting a friend’s wedding in Russia in 2018, Paul Whelan was detained. Both he and his family have strongly refuted the espionage accusations, and the United States believes him to be unfairly detained—a rare designation that gathers the whole might of the government to secure his release.
Meanwhile, the United States has freed WNBA star Brittney Griner and Marine veteran Trevor Reed in a prisoner exchange.
The United States is now pursuing the extradition of Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich, who has been held in Russian custody for a decade on baseless accusations of espionage.
As he awaits trial, a Russian court prolonged his custody until the end of January. Whelan and his loved ones are worried that he may be abandoned once again as the United States pursues Gershkovich’s release.