The American national jailed on espionage charges in Russia will soon request his transfer to US to serve his remaining jail term, his lawyer Olga Karlova pointed out saying they’ll file the request with the Moscow City Court before the end of the week.
Russian media quoted Karlova as saying that the request on Whelan’s transfer to the US is ready and pointed it will in fact depend on Russia and the United States’ goodwill if it will be granted since the judge will make a ruling based on that.
Karlova have also filed a complaint with the Russian prosecution, demanding the penal colony where Whelan is serving his sentence to allow them to speak with him, emphasizing that though they had the right to do so, the defense team had been unable to contact Whelan on the phone.
Whelan was returned to his labor camp two months ago after spending nearly three weeks in a medical facility at a different camp, during which he was not able to contact his family.
The former United States Marine, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in Moscow in December 2018 by Russia’s Federal Security Service and sentenced to 16 years in a high-security penal colony under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage) – a charge he vehemently denies.
US ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan complained at the time that Whelan’s secret trial with no evidence presented is an egregious violation of human rights and international legal norms, with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscoring the United States’ outrage over the secret trial without appropriate allowances for defense witnesses.
US President Joe Biden had allegedly discussed Whelan’s case as well as the case of Trevor Reed, American detained in Russia in 2019 for assaulting an police officer, during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, giving Whelan a hope that he’ll be freed as part of a prisoner swap.