Day 182 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update June 28 - G20 summit

Paul Whelan was entrapped and falsely arrested by Russian police 6 months ago today.  The FSB appointed his lawyers and has called the shots ever since.  Two extensions of his detention in prison while their pre-trial "investigation" continues.  They block his ability to send and receive mail, in violation of Russian law.  They remove him from Lefortovo prison for interrogation without lawyers at the FSB Lubyanka headquarters.  They direct Lefortovo prison staff to interfere with full consular access when US and other government representatives meet with Paul.

Despite claiming Paul was caught "red-handed", the FSB has failed to produce any evidence.  This is according to his defense lawyers, who have the only window into this secret, opaque process.  Mr. Zherebenkov has said publicly that if the FSB had any evidence, they would have shown it by now.  Paul remains detained so that the FSB can coerce a confession or manufacture evidence to support their false allegations.  Unfortunately, withstanding the coercion or lack of evidence won't stop Paul from being convicted if he goes to trial.

Paul has publicly asked for help in being extricated from this travesty of justice [ video ]  While the US Embassy staff visited him yesterday [6/27/2019], and continue to raise concerns about his treatment through diplomatic notes and public statements, this only impacts the immediate abuses.  The fundamental wrong - his arrest in the first place - remains unremedied.

Russian and U.S. government ministers and elected officials are meeting in Osaka, Japan, at the G20 summit.  We are hopeful that at some level, whether between Secretary Pompeo and Minister Lavrov, or between Presidents Putin and Trump, that Paul's case has been raised and steps are taken to find a way to bring Paul home to his family.  Russians should want their justice system to treat those wrongfully arrested fairly and release them when a mistake is made.  Americans should want the rights of American citizens to be respected wherever they go in the world.