15 May 2023 17:17

Whelan's brother says Russian penitentiary refused to accept parcel from U.S. ambassador

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) - The administration of a penitentiary in Russia's internal republic of Mordovia, where U.S. citizen Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage, is serving his sentence, refused to accept a parcel brought for him by United States Ambassador Lynne Tracy during her recent visit, Paul's brother David Whelan said.

"We learned from Paul that the prison refused to accept items from Ambassador Tracy and the consular staff during their visit on May 4. They had brought books and mail and both were rejected, for unknown reasons. This was the first time in a long time that the prison had refused to accept something brought by the U.S. embassy," David Whelan told Interfax.

He said he knew of no progress in his brother's possible swap following the White House's relevant proposal.

"The U.S. government needs to find more alternatives to bring Americans home," he said, calling for employing "something more deliberate than sanctions."

The Moscow City Court ruled on June 15, 2020 to sentence Whelan, a citizen of the U.S., Ireland, Canada, and the United Kingdom, to 16 years in prison for spying. He denied any wrongdoing.