Posted on Jan 04, 2019
Britain cautioned Russia on Friday that individuals should not be used as diplomatic pawns after a former U.S. marine who also holds British and Irish passports was detained in Moscow on dubious charges of espionage.
Paul Whelan was arrested by the FSB state security service on December 28th. His family have stated that he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
“Individuals should not be used as pawns of diplomatic leverage,” British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said. “We are extremely worried about Paul Whelan. We have offered consular assistance,”
Since leaving the U.S. military, Whelan had worked as a global security executive with U.S. companies, had visited Russia and had developed a network of Russian acquaintances.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that Washington had asked Moscow to explain Whelan’s arrest and would demand his immediate return if it determined his detention is inappropriate.
The FSB has opened a criminal case against Whelan but given no details of his alleged activities. In Russia, an espionage conviction carries a sentence of between 10 and 20 years in prison.
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