Embassy Says Russia Denied Medical Care for Jailed American

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who was arrested in Russia at the end of last year, attends a hearing in Moscow on Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. embassy in Moscow said Monday that the Russian government has denied its request to let a doctor examine a former U.S. Marine being held in Russia on spying charges.

In a tweet Monday, the embassy said Paul Whelan’s condition has “deteriorated” and that he has only received basic medical care in the Russian detention center where he is being held.  The embassy last week asked for an investigation into Whelan’s condition, raising concerns that he was being treated improperly in the facility. Whelan himself has complained of conditions in the facility where he is being held.

Whelan was arrested by Russian authorities in December and has been accused of spying, a charge that could come with a 20-year sentence. The director of global security at American auto parts company BorgWarner, Whelan has denied the allegations.

In response to the embassy’s tweet, Whelan’s brother, David, who has served as a spokesman for the family, called for Paul’s return.

“Despite prison officials’ assurances that #PaulWhelan is being cared for, Russian authorities have denied Paul’s access to medical care beyond basic first aid,” David Whelan tweeted Monday. “Russian leaders can improve US-Russian relations by sending home OUR relation.” (Emphasis in original.)

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