Attack Raises Alarms Over Whelan’s Well-being Amidst Ongoing Imprisonment
In a distressing turn of events, Paul Whelan, a US Marine veteran held in a Russian prison on contested charges, was reportedly attacked by another inmate, raising concerns about his safety and well-being.
According to Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, the assault occurred on Tuesday afternoon at a labor camp where Paul has been incarcerated for several years. The incident unfolded when Paul, engaged in labor at a sewing table, requested a new inmate to clear the production line. The situation escalated when the new prisoner allegedly struck Paul in the face, breaking his glasses, and attempted a second attack.
In a statement, David Whelan explained, “Paul stood up to block the second hit, and other prisoners intervened to prevent the prisoner from continuing to attack Paul.” He expressed his brother’s apprehension about potential future attacks, emphasizing that Paul, being an American, might be targeted due to anti-American sentiment among fellow prisoners.
Paul Whelan has requested to speak with local prosecutors to explore the possibility of an investigation into the incident. Concerns about the volatile environment, including the presence of sharp implements in the workshop, have amplified fears that such attacks could escalate.
The US State Department voiced its concern over the incident, with a spokesperson stating, “We are concerned about reports that Paul Whelan was assaulted by another prisoner in IK-17 on November 28.” The spokesperson confirmed that the US Embassy in Moscow has been in contact with Paul, who is receiving medical treatment following the assault.
The State Department also urged Russia to ensure the safety and fair treatment of all US citizens detained in the country. “We urge the Russian government to ensure fair treatment and appropriate medical care for all US citizens detained in Russia. Russia should immediately release Paul Whelan,” emphasized the spokesperson.
Whelan, arrested in December 2018 on charges of espionage and spying for the US government, was sentenced to 16 years. Both he and the US government have consistently denied the charges. The recent attack adds to the concerns surrounding Whelan’s precarious situation in a Russian labor camp.