Paul Whelan Attacked By Inmate While Imprisoned in Russia

Paul Whelan Attacked By Inmate While Imprisoned in Russia

( – Russia detained Paul Whelan, a former US Marine, in Russia in 2018 on charges of espionage. He went to trial and received a conviction and 16-year prison sentence in 2020. Recent reports indicate Whelan suffered an attack while behind bars.

On Wednesday, November 29, following Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, publicizing the incident, Russia’s prison service confirmed that another inmate attacked him. The US Embassy in Moscow has communicated with the former US Marine, who is currently receiving medical treatment for his injuries. Reports indicate Whelan was working on a production line when the attacker blocked his way. When he asked the inmate to move, he “hit Paul in the face, breaking Paul’s glasses.” The prisoner then tried to hit Whelan again.

In an email, David Whelan detailed the attack and noted that his brother is “concerned” that more attacks could happen and that the presence of sharp objects on the production line poses a dangerous threat to the American. He believes anti-American sentiment is to blame for the anger directed his way.

The United States has, so far, been unable to secure Whelan’s release, though pundits thought he might be part of the exchange between the two countries when Russia freed Brittney Griner. The US State Department lists him as “wrongfully detained,” a term it uses to describe an American held by a foreign government hoping to influence US policy or obtain economic or political concessions to facilitate an exchange.

Washington is also working to release another American, Evan Gershkovich, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal. Russia is holding Gershkovich on suspicion of spying, a claim US officials adamantly deny. With Whelan still sitting in prison, his family fears that should Washington secure the journalist’s release, the State Department might leave Whelan behind once again. Elizabeth Whelan, Paul’s sister, has continued to pressure officials to bring her brother home.

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