Day 1292 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 12, 2022 - Thanks to President Biden, Hope for Governor Richardson

Paul was able to communicate through a phone call yesterday to our parents his thanks to President Biden for reaffirming the Administration's commitment to secure Paul's release and bring him home [7/11/2022].  Paul also thanked Secretary of State Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan for their continued focus on his case.

As you may have seen, Bill Richardson, former US Ambassador to the UN and governor of Arizona, has indicated that he is traveling to Moscow to attempt to secure Paul's release, as well as that of Brittney Griner's.  We agreed to work with Gov. Richardson and the Richardson Center staff back in February 2019, when we were at sea about what resources were available to a wrongful detainee's family.  Gov. Richardson has repeatedly returned to Paul's case during the last 3 years, including prior to Trevor Reed's release. 

It is a tricky position for a family of a wrongful detainee to be in. It took years for Paul to be designated a wrongful detainee by the US government. During that time, a family uses what resources it can to raise awareness and advocate for their loved one's release. The ability to have a third party assist the family can mean forward progress before the U.S. government assigns resources to the detainee's case.  The work the Richardson Center does is important to families of wrongful detainees.

However, third-party representatives have no government mandate. They are not able to offer or agree to the concessions that are at the heart of the ongoing detention. Since they operate outside of any government, they may not be aware of discussions that are already underway between the U.S. government and the hostage-taking nation. This means they can both help and hinder a possible resolution of a detainee's case.

Our hope is that Governor Richardson may have conversations with people that the U.S. government, for diplomatic or other reasons, is unable to. Hopefully, these conversations can create additional shared understandings on which both the U.S. government and Russian government can move closer to resolving Paul's case. We wish for his success and a speedy return of Paul to our family.