Russian Federation extends detention of ex-U.S. marine held for spying

24 Février, 2019, 22:05 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A Moscow court has extended arrest for Whelan who was detained at the end of December for alleged spying

The extension keeps him detained until his next court date on May 28.

Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in a Moscow hotel room on December 28 and accused of espionage, charges he denied.

Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison on espionage charges.

Whelan appeared in court in a cage on Friday and looked downcast when he spoke briefly to reporters before masked security officials cut him off.

"He was expecting to see on the flash drive some personal information like pictures or videos, something like that, about that person's previous trips around Russia", his lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told Russian news agencies in January. His family says he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.

He said the defence asked the judge to change his arrest conditions to house arrest in an apartment belonging to Zherebenkov, but the motion was denied.

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Meanwhile, the US Embassy complained Friday that Russian investigators are not letting Whelan sign a waiver that would allow consular officials to release more details about his case.

Whelan holds Canadian, American, British and Irish citizenship.

"We are monitoring the process closely", the embassy continued. "Consular access without being able to do true consular support is not real access".

Paul Whelan was taken into custody in late December by Russia's FSB security service which said he was caught "while carrying out an act of espionage".

Whelan was working as a global security director for a USA auto-parts manufacturer at the time of his arrest.

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