Ex-marine calls Russia look case ‘political kidnap’

Ex-marine calls Russia look case ‘political kidnap’

Extinct US Marine Paul Whelan stands interior a defendants' cage as he attends a court listening to concerning the extension of his detentionImage copyright

Image caption

Mr Whelan turned into arrested in Moscow on 28 December after taking a workers of marriage ceremony site visitors on a tour of the Kremlin museums

A ragged US marine imprisoned in Russia on suspicion of spying has complained of “abuses and harassment” and says he’s a “victim of political kidnap”.

Mr Whelan – a citizen of the US, UK, Canada and Ireland – turned into arrested in gradual December, accused of espionage.

The forty eight-Three hundred and sixty five days-ancient denies the bills and suggested a court on Friday that he had been subjected to threats and abuse by a security service investigator.

The comments got right here as his pre-trial custody turned into prolonged unless 29 August.

Mr Whelan suggested the court that there turned into “fully no legitimacy” to the case against him, describing it as retaliation for US sanctions.

If came in some unspecified time in the future of guilty, he faces as a lot as two decades in penal advanced.

He said he had no longer showered in two weeks, turned into unable to acquire admission to scientific or dental therapy and had been denied obtain admission to to books and letters sent to him months ago.

“I’ve been threatened. My non-public security has been threatened. There are abuses and harassment that I’m constantly subjected to,” he said.

The court listening to on Friday turned into held within the relieve of closed doorways but site visitors had been accepted to encourage the opening and the studying of the ruling.

An authentic at the US embassy in Moscow said Washington turned into extraordinarily concerned by Mr Whelan’s claims.

The comments marked a shift in tone from old statements by the ragged marine, who suggested the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in February that he turned into “holding up neatly” after two months in custody but would possibly perchance presumably well no longer focus on publicly about the charge against him for fear of constructing his difficulty worse.

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Media captionIn February Paul Whelan spoke to the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford

In the court docket

Sarah Rainsford, BBC Recordsdata, Moscow

Paul Whelan is excited and he isn’t any longer hiding it. Standing interior a metal cage in court the ragged US marine declared that his detention in Moscow and the charge of espionage turned into a political kidnap, with nothing authentic about it.

Moments later he suggested the reach to a resolution he critical to complain about his interrogator from Russia’s FSB security service, announcing “his actions, abuse, harassment and the threats on my lifestyles are unprofessional and would possibly perchance presumably well well no longer be tolerated”. The reach to a resolution no longer accepted him.

These are by a ways the strongest comments Mr Whelan has ever made in his case. He’s been held now for five months in an FSB penal advanced, accused of receiving Russian relate secrets on a flash power from a chum. He denies the charge, announcing he thought the skill contained photos from a vacationer day out.

Earlier he had said he critical to acquire a commentary to Donald Trump and to the US Congress, but his masked FSB guards suggested him he turned into forbidden to focus on.

The US ambassador in Moscow has said no proof has been presented in this case in five months and known as on Russia to ‘stop taking part in video games’

The listening to itself is closed – as an espionage case – and labelled prime secret.

Why turned into he arrested?

Mr Whelan arrived in Russia on 22 December to encourage a marriage ceremony and had deliberate to streak to St Petersburg as well to Moscow sooner than flying dwelling on 6 January, his brother suggested the BBC.

He turned into arrested in Moscow on 28 December after taking a workers of marriage ceremony site visitors on a tour of the Kremlin museums.

Russia’s FSB relate security agency said he turned into detained “sincere thru an act of espionage”.

Mr Whelan’s Russian legal authentic has said the arrest turned into made after he turned into unwittingly handed a memory stick containing relate secrets.

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Media captionDavid Whelan comments on his brother’s arrest by Russian authorities

Who’s he?

Mr Whelan turned into born in Canada to British of us but moved to the US as a baby. He is currently director of worldwide security for Michigan-based entirely automotive parts vendor BorgWarner.

His brother has said Mr Whelan had been visiting Russia for change and pleasure since 2007.

Mr Whelan joined the Marine Reserves in 1994 and rose to the nefarious of workers sergeant in 2004. He served in Iraq for several months in 2004 and 2006.

He turned into convicted in a 2008 court martial on bills related to larceny and bought a putrid-behavior discharge. Crucial components of the bills are no longer public.