Day 510 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - May 21, 2020 - Setup for a $1400 Debt

Set up for a $1400 debt -- that's the takeaway from Paul's trial. The evidence wrapped up yesterday, with the defense producing two character witnesses and reexamining Ilya Yatsenko, identified as an FSB major in the Russian media. The Kommersant piece noted, based on a source at the trial, Paul believes Ilya set him up to avoid repaying a US$1400 (100,000 rubles) loan to Paul.

The trial was held in secret so the only details we have are those released by participants to the media. Paul's lawyers appear confident in their defense against the prosecution's sole witness. What little information that has reached the public suggests a corrupt Russian policeman rather than a foreign spy.

The closing arguments will be held May 25, and Paul's lawyers think the court could deliver a verdict in June. Paul has been imprisoned for nearly 17 months. Pre-trial detention is counted towards time served, so Paul's wrongful detention means he's already served a two year sentence.

In a just system, the court would acquit Paul based on the lack of evidence. But we expect a wrongful conviction and can only hope that the sentence is at the lighter end of the range.

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