Paul Whelan's trial continued this week. His lawyers spoke with Russian media and explained that they had subpoenaed 5 witnesses and "we hope that one of them will (appear)". Mr. Zherebenkov said the court examined the written testimony of 6 Russians yesterday, who attested that Paul didn't try to recruit anyone as a spy. The next appearance will be Monday, May 18.
After 16 months of being denied access to a telephone, Paul was finally able to call home on Tuesday [5/12/2020]. It took a court order and, even with that, was delayed right up to the day before his next court appearance. Our parents were glad to be able to hear Paul's voice for the first time since December 2018.
The tripling of coronavirus cases over the last two weeks in the Russian prison system is alarming. The pandemic is a difficult time for families of those wrongfully detained. Fortunately, the court appears to be dealing with the defense's case quickly and perhaps Paul's trial will soon finish.
We are grateful for the continued support of the US Embassy staff and Ambassador John Sullivan. They took the time on Mother's Day to continue their advocacy of Paul's rights to be allowed to communicate with his family.
We also appreciate the ongoing support of the US Congress, through statements like that from the House Foreign Affairs Committee when Rep. Eliot Engel and Rep. Michael McCaul introduced their resolution on Russia's use of politically motivated imprisonment. When Paul's trial comes to a close, it will be this support that we hope will expedite his return to the US.
[5 subpoenas: https://ria.ru/20200513/1571352165.html ]
[6 witnesses testimony: https://ria.ru/20200513/1571385705.html ]
[600 FSIN staff and 145 prisoners contracted coronavirus: https://tass.ru/obschestvo/8469185 ]
[US Embassy tweets on Mother's Day: https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1259442748463120384 ]
[House Foreign Affairs Committee tweet: https://twitter.com/HouseForeign/status/1259899697256333316 ]
[H.Res. 958: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/958 ]