The James W. Foley Freedom Run/Walk was held today [10/15/2022]. Our family walked to support the Foley Foundation, which does so much advocacy for the wrongfully detained. There is no way to thank the Foundation for all their work, but at least we hoped our participation in the Freedom Run might be a start.
Our parents gathered with friends in Manchester, Michigan, and participated in the virtual Freedom Run. Despite our mum just having had knee surgery in August, our parents walked today for Paul's freedom. (Dad is 84, Mum is 82) We are so grateful for Paul's supporters coming out to support our parents. Many of them have been friends who have known our family, and Paul and me, for decades.
>>> Photos available for media: https://photos.app.goo.gl/UJTwtYrvAtgotim96
I walked in San Diego for Paul, and for Jim Foley's memory, and for all the other Americans wrongfully detained around the world: Brittney Griner, Kai Li, Siamak Namazi, Mark Swidan, and so many more. And, not letting a Russian prison get in the way, Paul walked too. We had asked if he might be able to join the virtual walk earlier this summer, when we started planning to participate. We did not register him or raise any other flag, in case it caused him difficulty in prison, or he could not do it safely.
But Paul spoke to our parents today, after they returned from their own Freedom Walk:
"On Saturday, October 15, and while imprisoned at Hospital Camp 21, I completed a one mile walk in support of the Foley Foundation. The camp horse "ZAKHAR" joined me for part of my trek. While the circumstances did not allow others to join me, several fellow prisoners [who remain at IK-17,] from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Russia completed a one mile walk at Labor Camp 17 in support of this globally recognized cause." - Paul Whelan
Paul and the other IK-17 prisoners had worked out their routes in advance, so as to walk as close to a mile as possible. Paul figured out the route the horse took each day was about the right amount, and volunteered to take the horse for one circuit.
Paul continues to fight and not let the bastards get him down. His continued resolve, in these terrible conditions, encourages our parents and friends to continue to advocate for his freedom. We hope that he, the other prisoners, and the horse, will not suffer any retaliation for their show of support for freedom. And we hope we will not have to walk to advocate for Paul's freedom next year.
Thank you for continuing to follow Paul's case. best, David.