Russian authorities have sentenced Paul Whelan, a former US Marine, to 16 years in prison for espionage. The US government has been battling for his release since his detention in 2018 during the administration of former President Donald Trump, maintaining that the charges against him were manufactured. He was allegedly assaulted in prison, according to his family’s recent claims.
Whelan informed his loved ones on November 28 that he was assaulted in the face by another inmate while working on an assembly line at the prison camp where he is currently detained. David Whelan, the brother of the ex-marine, informed the media about what happened. He said the attacker tried to strike Whelan again, but the latter “stood up to block the second hit.” Other inmates at the facility then stepped in to break up the altercation.
Because “he is an American, and anti-American sentiment is not common among other prisoners,” according to his family, Whelan is a target at the prison. The ex-marine assured his loved ones that the assault was “relatively minor,” but he remains worried that more may be on the way. An attacker utilizing one of the sharp instruments in the workshop to harm him is his worst fear.
According to the New York Times, Whelan is “receiving medical treatment following the incident.” The State Department stated that he met with officials at the US Embassy in Moscow. Additionally, the US government is requesting that Russia guarantee the “fair treatment and appropriate medical care” of any detained US individuals, according to the statement.
Brittney Griner, a member of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), is one of many convicts freed by the administration of President Joe Biden from Russian prisons. Biden was criticized for failing to secure Whelan’s release as well, even though the administration had already secured her release. But the Russians allegedly wouldn’t let the ex-marine go. David Whelan said The Associated Press at the time that the Whelan family was in favor of Griner’s release and that they were aware that Russia would not permit Griner to depart “anytime soon.”