Paul Whelan Arrest – Despite their support for the American government’s agreement to a prisoner exchange that resulted in the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner but left Paul Whelan behind, the brother of an American detained in Russia since 2018 said on Thursday that his family fears he won’t be released for years. Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, has been imprisoned on spurious espionage allegations, according to his family and the US government.
According to American officials, Russia rejected the idea of adding Whelan to the Griner agreement, saying it was a “one or none” choice. David Whelan, his brother, said their parents spoke with Paul Whelan on Thursday; this was a very different conversation from their usual calls, which centred on Whelan’s day-to-day activities and news from the family’s home in Michigan.
David Whelan stated
“I think we all realize that the math is not going to work out for Paul to come home anytime soon unless the U.S. government can find concessions,” David Whelan said. “Therefore, I believe that we are unsure of how to proceed.” He stated that there is no way for the family to determine the likelihood “that he will ever be free other than by serving his entire term,” Paul Whelan, 52, received a 16-year prison term in 2020; the circumstance “makes hope a little bit more difficult, “added David Whelan. The suffering of the family does not alter David Whelan’s assessment that the Biden administration “made the right choice” in exchanging infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner.
The news of Griner’s release, according to Whelan, was delivered by a U.S. official to his sister on Wednesday at her home in Massachusetts. He claimed that this decision lessened the pain of learning that his brother would remain in prison. After a trade in April for Marine veteran Trevor Reed excluded Paul Whelan, pressure to include him in any trade for Griner grew.
Paul Whelan expressed his “deep disappointment that more has not been done” to the media on Thursday “get his freedom secured. “I would say that if a message could go to President Biden, that this is a precarious situation that needs to be resolved quickly,” he said in a phone interview. “My luggage is ready. I’m eager to return home. All I need is an aeroplane to pick me up.”
Paul Whelan will not be forgotten, Biden promised as he announced the agreement for Griner’s release. “Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s,” Biden said. “And while we have not yet succeeded at securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up. We will never give up.” Speaking later at the State Department, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia “continues to insist on sham charges” against Whelan. “This was not a choice of which American to bring home: The choice was one or none,” Blinken said. “And I wholeheartedly wish that we could have brought Paul home today on the same plane as Brittney.”
Republican politicians from many states, including Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg, who expressed his heartbreak for the Whelan family, condemned the arrangement for leaving Whelan in Russia. In a statement, Walberg stated, “They deserve better.
David Whelan rejected claims that the notoriety of Griner was responsible for her release and expressed his hope that Griner’s fame will continue to draw attention to his brother and other Americans who are detained abroad. David Whelan stated, “I worry about Paul’s mental health. How do you keep up surviving mentally in that sort of situation? Not only for days but for months and years. We’re coming up on four years, and I think, unfortunately, it may be years more that he has to face.”
News from SNBC13.com