Day 398 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - January 30, 2020 - First Consular Visit in 2020

U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan visited Paul today at Lefortovo prison.  Paul has been wrongfully detained for more than 13 months [398 days as of 1/30/2020]. We are appreciative for the hard work of so many consular staff - US, UK, Canadian, and Irish - to help Paul while he remains a prisoner.
 
[@USEmbRu w/ photo: https://twitter.com/USEmbRu/status/1222854089362616328]
 
We are also glad to see that Israel was successfully able to secure the freedom of Naama Issachar, a dual Israeli-American citizen.  Ms. Issachar was held in similar coercive detention but was apparently freed as "the result of a Russian goodwill gesture toward the United States,"  We hope the goodwill Russia extended to a backpacker will be extended to a tourist and that Paul will be freed.
 
[Times of Israel:  https://www.timesofisrael.com/backpacker-naama-issachar-walks-free-in-russia-boards-pms-plane-back-to-israel/ ]
 
Meanwhile, we wait for Paul's trial to come.  An email from Paul's lawyers suggests that the FSB and Lefortovo prison officials have allowed Paul's lawyers to visit longer with him.  They must have heard the Ministry of Foreign Affairs complaints on how long it was taking to prepare for trial.  The Ministry continues to publicly misrepresent the conditions of Paul's imprisonment.  We were glad to see Ambassador Sullivan and Embassy staff stand up for the truth surrounding the FSB's ongoing isolation of Paul.
 
[@USEmbRuPress on phone calls:  https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1222532024151552006]
[@MFA_Russia response:  https://twitter.com/mfa_russia/status/1222548153968316416 ]
[TASS quoting Ambassador Sullivan:  https://tass.com/politics/1114639 ]
 
Paul will be delighted to see people today with whom he can speak.  It has been 6 weeks since he's seen - or been seen - by English speakers.  We're eager to hear how Paul's holding up in his continued defiance against the Russian authorities' wrongful detention.