Day 536 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - June 16, 2020 - What's Next
Thank you for your interest in Paul's case. Our family is very grateful to the media for continuing to shine a light on this "mockery of justice", as U.S. Ambassador Sullivan named it yesterday on the courthouse steps in Moscow.
Every cloud has a silver lining. The outpouring of support from the U.S. government yesterday was remarkable. It made clear that the U.S. is unified in the face of the injustice that Paul has experienced. Tweets from Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien only underscored Ambassador Sullivan's own statement:
What we're looking for is not an exchange, we're looking for justice and his release....I, as [President Trump's] representative, speaking on his behalf, am not just asking, I'm demanding justice for Paul and Paul's release. I speak on behalf of the President, as his Ambassador.
The Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA), Roger Carstens, as well as Congress spoke out as well. The Michigan Delegation, Senators Menendez and Rubio, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations all made clear their opposition to the ongoing injustice Paul faces. The UK and Canadian governments also released statements about their concern for Paul and their ongoing commitment to support him.
Not surprisingly, discussion in the Russian Federation immediately began about a prisoner exchange. That has been the whole point of Paul's wrongful detention. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been airing their shopping list of diplomatic properties and Russian convicts for nearly a year. They have been waiting only for the conviction, which the Russian authorities saw as a prerequisite. However, as Ambassador Sullivan has said so well, our family is not advocating that Paul be traded. We want justice for Paul. We want his freedom. We look now to the US, UK, Canadian, and Irish governments to find a resolution that results in Paul's release and return to the United States.
If an exchange was the resolution the governments involved landed on, and it saw Paul freed, we wouldn't oppose it. But Paul has said he is more Mr. Bean than Mr. Bond. I do not believe that any government would exchange Mr. Bean for "The Merchant of Death." Our family will support either conciliatory or punitive measures and will leave it to the diplomats and politicians to find the right method. We will continue to focus on one thing: Paul's freedom.
The Russian Federation fixed Paul's trial. Now Russian authorities will need to fix his freedom or Paul's use as a political hostage will continue to thwart the U.S.-Russia relationship.
[Ambassador Sullivan's remarks in RT stakeout stream: https://youtu.be/XLvMprgWwsU?t=2990 ]
[State Department statement: https://www.state.gov/the-conviction-of-u-s-citizen-paul-whelan-in-russia/ ]
[Tweet: Secretary of State Pompeo: https://twitter.com/SecPompeo/status/1272500103828422660 ]
[Tweet: NSA Robert O'Brien: https://twitter.com/WHNSC/status/1272648578998185991
[Tweet: SPEHA Roger Carstens: https://twitter.com/StateSPEHA/status/1272655600858644480 ]
[Tweet: House Committee on Foreign Affairs: https://twitter.com/HouseForeign/status/1272566228238962690 ]
[Tweet: Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: https://twitter.com/SenateForeign/status/1272545290294362114 ]
[Michigan Delegation to Congress statement: https://walberg.house.gov/media/press-releases/michigan-congressional-delegation-joint-statement-paul-whelan-sentencing-russia ]
[Senator Bob Menendez statement: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/menendez-statement-on-russian-courts-sentencing-of_us-citizen-paul-whelan ]
[Tweet: Senator Bob Menendez: https://twitter.com/SenatorMenendez/status/1272545221373382656 ]
[Tweet: Senator Gary Peters: https://twitter.com/SenGaryPeters/status/1272551145689546752 ]
[Tweet: Senator Marco Rubio: https://twitter.com/SenRubioPress/status/1272574204903292930 ]
[Tweet: Representative Haley Stevens, from Paul's home district: https://twitter.com/RepHaleyStevens/status/1272543779430555649 ]
[Tweet: Representative Dan Kildee: https://twitter.com/RepDanKildee/status/1272533645656547330 ]
[UK Foreign Office Statement by Dominic Raab: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-statement-on-sentencing-of-paul-whelan ]
[Tweet: UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: https://twitter.com/DominicRaab/status/1272607306606403584 ]
[Tweet: Canada Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne: https://twitter.com/FP_Champagne/status/1272634975893020672 ]
[My media release linking to Russian MFA comments on trade options: https://ofaolain.com/pipermail/freepaulwhelan-updates_ofaolain.com/2019-July/000037.html ]