It isn't bad enough that the Russian legal system has managed to launder a tourist into a spy and then wrongfully convict him. Or that Paul has now spent 30 months as a hostage of the Russian Federation [6/28/2021]. Once again, we no longer have contact with Paul. He was last able to call our parents nearly 3 weeks ago, before the meeting between President Putin and President Biden.
We had heard from Paul that he might be temporarily transferred to IK-21 in order to get medical care. Not that a Russian prison hospital is any guarantee of safe health and welfare. As the Kremlin struggles to fight coronavirus - a record number of deaths reported yesterday - we are concerned whenever Paul is out of communication for long.
Whether he is at IK-17, IK-21, or another labor camp: "*Persons sentenced to imprisonment shall be granted the right to telephone calls*."
"Осужденным к лишению свободы предоставляется право на телефонные разговоры."
The prison authorities violate their own regulations by prohibiting Paul from making phone calls. And cause the Russian government to violate the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by interfering with the ability of
consular staff at the US and other embassies to know where Paul is and interact with him:
"*consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention,** to converse and correspond with him*"
We appreciate that the US Embassy is looking into where Paul is and why Paul is not being allowed to communicate - again. We are grateful for the work Senators Peters, Booker, Cornyn, and Stabenow have done and will watch Senate Resolution 165 now that it has left the Committee on Foreign Relations and heads for a vote.
US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan has returned to Moscow, restated that US citizens being held prisoner are a priority, and will discuss them in his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov
Thursday. We hope this continued oversight and advocacy by the US Embassy and by Congress will lead to Paul's safe return home.
[652 Russians dead in 24 hours, 134,500 dead total: Kremlin: 60% of citizens will not be vaccinated by autumn - News - Society - Kommersant <https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4878825> ]
[FSIN regulation Article 92. Phone conversations of convicts to imprisonment | guarantor (garant.ru) <https://base.garant.ru/1306500/a01fd19fbf2aae1b9a36f043855d0c20/> ]
[UN - Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Article 36 (1)(c): https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_2_1963.pdf]
[S. Res. 165: Text - S.Res.165 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): A resolution calling on the Government of the Russian Federation to provide evidence or to release United States citizen Paul Whelan. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress <https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-resolution/165/text> ]
[Interview with Ambassador John Sullivan, 6/27/2021: U.S. Ambassador calls talks on Paul Whelan, Trevor Reed and Michael Calvi a priority (tvrain.ru)
<https://tvrain.ru/news/posol_ssha_nazval_prioritetom_peregovory_po_polu_uilanu_trevoru_ridu_i_majklu_kalvi-532729/>; full interview to air today at Kotrikadze Foreign Affairs (tvrain.ru)
[Ambassador Sullivan to meet with Deputy FM Ryabkov: U.S. intends to further discuss with Russia the fate of Americans detained in Russia - International Panorama - TASS <https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/11771433> ]