Today is the 895th day that Paul Whelan is a hostage of the Russian Federation. As we approach Day 900 [06/15/2021] - the first day of the Presidential Summit between Presidents Putin and Biden - Paul's letters continue to arrive at our parents' home. Paul has been numbering them, so that we will know which letters don't arrive and in what order to read the ones that do. Letters #963-1000 have not reached Michigan yet. But letter #1001 has made its way from Mordovia to Manchester. [photo link of envelope, photo by Ed Whelan:
We are glad Paul continues to write as it shows that, even in these awful conditions, he's been able to develop some degree of normal activity that connects him to home.
Paul had an unexpected visit from the lawyers who presented his defense at trial, Vladimir Zherebenkov and Olga Karlova, yesterday. We had passed a message to him via our parents on Tuesday that they might be coming, as we had seen it announced in Russian media. You can find coverage of their visit in Russian media. (For example: FSIN gave Paul Whelan the status of "prone to escape" - News - Incidents - Kommersant
I will note one thing that seemed to be misconstrued based on Ms. Karlova's comments to the media (see FSIN found convicted of espionage Whelan prone to escape - Society - TASS <https://tass.ru/obschestvo/11607767> ). Ms. Karlova does not suggest this, but Paul was not recently designated a "flight risk." As you'll know from previous emails from me (see November 2020 <https://ofaolain.com/pipermail/freepaulwhelan-updates_ofaolain.com/2020-November/000090.html> for example) this is a long-standing tactic used by Warden Denisov. There is no link between the prison's abuse of Paul and the summit.
According to Russian media, Mr. Zherebenkov wants to seek Paul's extradition so that Paul will serve the unjust 16 year sentence meted out by the corrupt Russian legal system in a US prison. It is still not clear
why Mr. Zherebenkov and Ms. Karlova went to Mordovia to discuss this, a legal option that could have been pursued any time since Paul was sentenced in 2020. And it is not clear why they went at this particular
moment. But we are grateful that they made the multi-day trip and were able to speak to Paul.
As he has so conscientiously done over the past 30 months, Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov immediately reminded everyone that Paul's case was not to be considered under Russia's extradition laws. No steps are taken in relation to Whelan in the context of the Russia-U.S.-Russia summit or outside it is not being worked out - Ryabkov - Russia || Interfax Russia (interfax-russia.ru)
It's not clear why Paul is not eligible - Article 471 of the Criminal Code of Procedure does not mention severity of a crime as a reason that a prisoner would be ineligible - so we'll see what comes of Mr. Zherebenkov's efforts. Perhaps the Russian government recognizes that only people convicted under the rule of law - not ones held hostage on bogus charges - should be extradited.
As many of you are, we are looking forward to seeing what transpires at the summit next week. We were glad to see that US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan will be attending the summit and hope that this means his unnecessary absence from Moscow won't be prolonged. Diplomats confirm Ambassador Sullivan's participation at Geneva summit (interfax.ru) <https://www.interfax.ru/world/771283>
[For context: Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, to which the US and Russian Federation are signatories, particularly Article 9:
[For context: this is the version of the Criminal Procedure Code I refer to, so you may want to confirm it's the latest version: http://pravo.gov.ru/proxy/ips/?docbody=&nd=102073942 ]