Paul Whelan's next detention hearing has been set for Friday, May 24. The FSB has requested for another 3 months of detention while they continue to string out the pre-trial phase of Paul's case. Unfortunately, there's no reason to think that their continued lack of evidence will free Paul. Paul's lawyer may seek bail, as an alternative to jail or house arrest, but that doesn't change the underlying fact that Paul is being wrongfully detained by Russian authorities. If there was any justice, Paul would be freed and sent home to his family.
We've seen increasing awareness on the part of the U.S. government about Paul's wrongful detention. We're glad that Secretary Pompeo mentioned his concern to Foreign Minister Lavrov about "U.S. citizens who have been detained in Russia, making sure that our citizens are not unjustly held abroad." However, it is unclear whether Secretary Pompeo also expressed concern to Foreign Minister Lavrov that:
- the FSB investigator does not appear to be following Russian law when it comes to Paul's rights as a prisoner and accused.
- Or that the US Ambassador and Embassy staffs' attempts to provide full consular support for Paul have been interfered with.- Or whether he asked, again, "to learn more about the charges", facts that the State Department has now been seeking for most of the 145 days [5/22/2019] Paul has been in Russian prison.
The FSB are likely to get another 3 months to try to coerce a confession from Paul.
Hopefully the US government will not continue to stand on the sidelines and watch while an American citizen is being mistreated by a foreign government, falsely accused, wrongfully detained.