Today is Paul Whelan's 500th day in a Russian prison [5/11/2020]. Entrapped by a friend in Russian law enforcement, Paul has been isolated from his friends and family for more than 16 months while he is subjected to an unjust Russian legal system. His trial is expected to continue on Wednesday, May 13 when the defense presents its case.
Paul has requested documents from us, through his lawyers, to aid in his defense against the unfounded charges. Unfortunately, the Russian legal system does not provide for translation of documents into Russian. Just as Paul was prohibited from receiving translated investigative documents in English, he will be unable to present evidence in court because he cannot provide it in Russian. The Russian authorities detain you and then expect you to pay for the privilege.
It has been nearly a month since the Moscow City Court hearing his case ordered that Paul be allowed phone calls home. Phone calls, as US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan noted last week [4/28/2020], that have been Paul's right for the entire 16 months he has been held captive by the Russian government. Still no calls. A note from Paul through his lawyers says the prison is blocking the court's order.
[Ambassador Sullivan (video): https://twitter.com/
USEmbRuPress/status/ 1255110473114177537 ]
The Russian Federation's Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, called on Facebook for Russians in US prison to be released due to the coronavirus. We would urge the Russian government to heed their own advice. If Paul were at home in Michigan, he would be in far less peril than he is in Russia. If there were ever an opportunity of showing mercy and goodwill, letting people hazard their lives in their homes, it is now.
[Source: Bing interactive; data sources: https://help.bing.
microsoft.com/#apex/18/en-us/ 10024 ]
[Ambassador Antonov's Facebook letter: https://www.facebook.
com/RusEmbUSA/photos/a. 493759737501088/ 1302867456590308/ ]
It is too much to hope that Judge Andrei Suvorov's three judge panel or the prosecutor in Paul's case will dismiss the charges. That isn't how the Russian legal system works. For Paul's sake, we hope the trial is completed quickly so that we can proceed to the next act of this unreal theater.