Jailed US Citizen Caught on Video in Russia

Jailed US Citizen Caught on Video in Russia

(NationRise.com) – Former US Marine Paul Whelan made a rare appearance in a Russian TV broadcast on one of the most famous Kremlin-backed networks in the Eurasian nation. Whelan has been jailed in Russia since 2018 after the nation’s Federal Security Service (confusingly abbreviated as “FSB”) accused him of spying on behalf of the United States.

In the broadcast, Whelan can be seen wearing the black prison hat and uniform in different parts of the jail, which is located in Mordovia. This region has always been known for having some of Eastern Europe’s harshest and most inhumane penal colonies.

The former marine can is shown in the video with other inmates sitting in the prison’s cafeteria and using a sewing machine. The footage was published in Kremlin-controlled Russia Today, one of Russia’s primary propaganda outlets to send out disinformation.

The 52-year-old former American marine was arrested in a Moscow hotel and sentenced to 16 years of hard labor in a Russian penal colony in 2020. Russian authorities formally accused him of spying, which Whelan and the United States have consistently denied.

The Democratic administration of US President Joe Biden has declared Whelan to be “wrongfully detained” by Russian authorities. Experts have pointed out this is a fraught legal term implying that the charges brought against Whelan were unfounded and that Russia targeted Whelan because of his nationality.

According to a Reuters report, his brother David Whelan explained that the last time he saw Paul was three years ago, in June 2020. He also revealed that Russia Today journalists showed up in the prison and asked the American marine if he wanted to be interviewed. When he declined, prison staffers “retaliated” against him.

Since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Biden administration has conducted two prisoner exchanges with Russia. However, Whelan hasn’t been part of any of these deals, even when the president has repeatedly said he will make all efforts to guarantee the former US marine’s liberation.

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