Paul Whelan

Paul Whelan Urges Biden Admin To Intervene For His Release After Over 2,000 Days In Russian Prison

Paul Whelan
Paul Whelan (RF, X)

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, has spent an astonishing 2,000 days in Russian custody, marking a grim milestone in his ongoing battle for freedom.

Arrested in Moscow in 2018 on dubious espionage charges that have been vehemently refuted by both Whelan and the U.S. government, the 54-year-old American has now served a third of his 16-year hard labor sentence, with no clear end in sight.

Whelan’s desperate plea to the Biden administration comes as he expresses deep frustration over the lack of decisive action taken to secure his release, even as fellow American detainees like Brittney Griner and Trevor Reed have been freed through prisoner swaps.

Read: Russia And North Korea Pledge Mutual Defense, Sparking Outrage In South Korea

Amidst dwindling information-sharing and waning White House support, Whelan is urging the president and his team to employ bold measures, including potentially “filling up Guantanamo Bay with Russian officials,” to compel the Kremlin to finally free him and fellow wrongfully detained American, Evan Gershkovich.

The Ongoing Ordeal: Paul Whelan’s 2,000 Days in Russian Captivity

Paul Whelan’s nightmare began on December 28, 2018, when he was arrested in a Moscow hotel room on trumped-up espionage charges.

Convicted in 2020, he was sentenced to 16 years of hard labor, which he is currently serving at a remote labor camp in Mordovia. As Whelan now surpasses the 2,000-day mark in Russian custody, he reflects on the “incredible amount of time” he has spent incarcerated “for a crime that never occurred.”

Whelan’s case has been a source of ongoing frustration for his family, who have repeatedly criticized the Biden administration for failing to secure his release.

Read: Russia And North Korea Forge Stronger Alliance, Pledge Mutual Defense Against ‘Aggression’

His twin brother, David Whelan, has expressed disappointment over the lack of progress, stating that the U.S. government does not appear to have made more than one offer to secure Paul’s freedom since late 2023. The family also laments the reduced information-sharing and closed doors that have characterized the White House’s approach in recent months.

As Whelan languishes in Russian custody, his situation stands in stark contrast to the cases of other high-profile American detainees. Basketball star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed were both freed through prisoner swap deals in 2022, while Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, arrested in March 2023, faces a similar espionage trial.

Whelan’s family has expressed concern that the Biden administration may prioritize securing Gershkovich’s release over his own, leaving him behind once again. This fear stems from Whelan’s previous experiences, where he was left behind in the prisoner exchanges that freed Griner and Reed.

Frustrated by the lack of progress in his case, Whelan has directly appealed to the Biden administration to take “decisive action” to secure his release.

He argues that the U.S. government needs to adopt a more aggressive approach, potentially employing measures such as “filling up Guantanamo Bay with Russian officials” or arresting Russian spies, in order to compel the Kremlin to negotiate.

Whelan’s desperation is palpable as he criticizes the “false promises” and “false hopes” that have been presented to his family, and laments the diminishing information-sharing from the White House. He emphasizes that the “diplomatic efforts have failed” and that the time has come for the Biden administration to take bold steps to bring him home.

Read: U.S. Staff Sgt. Gordon Black Gets Over 3 Years In Russian Prison For Theft, Murder Threat Charges

In his interview with CNN, Whelan offered a scathing critique of the Russian justice system, describing it as a mere “system that the government has operated for many years, putting people in prison for all sorts of dubious charges and dubious events.”

He argues that there is no true “criminal justice system” or “judicial system” in Russia, as individuals are automatically deemed guilty and sentenced, without any meaningful due process.

Whelan’s assessment of the Russian legal landscape echoes the sentiments of U.S. officials, who have consistently maintained that the charges against him and Gershkovich are “completely bogus” and that both men are wrongfully detained.

“When you think of 2,000 days, how long that actually is, how many years, how many months, it’s an incredible number,” said Whelan, who called CNN Friday exclusively from his remote prison camp in Mordovia, Russia.

As Paul Whelan’s imprisonment in Russia drags on, his family has resigned themselves to the possibility that his release may not come anytime soon. David Whelan, Paul’s twin brother, acknowledges that neither he nor his parents have any “expectation that the U.S. government is going to be able to find a resolution” in the near future.

The Whelans have even resorted to asking the U.S. embassy to help them calculate the exact end date of Paul’s 16-year sentence, in the hopes of being able to “broadcast it in hopes of getting the Russians to confirm it.” This grim reality reflects the family’s concern that Paul may face additional punishments or extended detention, further prolonging his ordeal.

Help support the Tampa Free Press by making any small donation by clicking here.

Android Users, Click To Download The Tampa Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. Follow Us On Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our free newsletter.

Login To Facebook To Comment