- Title: U.S. asks Russia to free incarcerated ex-Marine Paul Whelan
- Date: 23rd December 2019
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (DECEMBER 23, 2019) (REUTERS) UNITED STATES FLAG ON EMBASSY CAR EMBASSY CAR VARIOUS OF DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE U.S. MISSION BART GORMAN AND DIPLOMATS FROM BRITAIN, CANADA AND IRELAND HEADING TO LEFORTOVO PRISON BARBED WIRE ON PRISON WALL VARIOUS OF DIPLOMATS RETURNING FROM PRISON, APPROACHING MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE U.S. MISSION BART GORMAN, SAYING: "Paul seemed to be in reasonably good spirits today, he appreciated the fact that all four embassies for the first time visited him. For the holidays he sends his well wishes to his parents, to his family and his friends. In terms of the (Russian Foreign) ministry's comments - they are baseless. There is no evidence, there is no crime." PAPERS IN GORMAN'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE U.S. MISSION BART GORMAN, SAYING: "The children at the U.S. embassy drew him Christmas cards. Those were passed today, some food, some Christmas sweets among other things and some well-wishes from his family and his friends, passed him some messages... And that was all well-received." MEDIA SURROUNDING DIPLOMATS (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE U.S. MISSION BART GORMAN, SAYING: "On October 23, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the American embassy that there was no objection to our requests. Despite this positive news, in the ensuing weeks, it became clear that the investigators had changed their mind and they refuse to allow Paul to see a doctor." MEDIA SURROUNDING DIPLOMATS (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE U.S. MISSION BART GORMAN, SAYING: "At this time of the year when the concept of family is paramount, we call on the Russian government to allow Paul to make a phone call to his mother and father for Christmas and the New Year." MEDIA SURROUNDING DIPLOMATS
- Embargoed: 6th January 2020 15:06
- Keywords: Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman Lefortovo Paul Whelan Russia Russia-America U.S.A. jail prison
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Reuters ID: LVA001BB74QX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A senior U.S. diplomat on Monday (December 23) called for Russia to free Paul Whelan, a former Marine accused by Moscow of espionage, saying there was no evidence against him and he had committed no crime.
Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman made the pre-Christmas appeal to Russia outside a Moscow prison after he and diplomats from Britain, Canada and Ireland had visited Whelan.
Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained by agents from Russia's Federal Security Service in a Moscow hotel room on Dec. 28 last year.
Moscow says Whelan was caught red-handed with a computer flash drive containing classified information. Whelan says he was set up in a sting and had thought the drive, given to him by a Russian acquaintance, contained holiday photos.
He has been held in pre-trial detention while investigators look into his case.
Gorman urged Russia to allow an outside doctor to examine Whelan, who has a medical condition, and for the former Marine to be allowed to phone his parents, something he has so far been denied.
(Production: Anton Derbenev)
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