Day 78 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update March 16, 2019

Paul Whelan continues to be wrongfully detained in a Russian jail.  His appeal against denial of bail - which forces him to remain in Lefortovo prison - wwas heard by a Moscow court on Thursday, March 14.  As expected the court agreed with the initial decision to enforce detention, since that is what the FSB requested.  He has been in Russian custody for 78 days today.
 
We are heartened by support from Senators Marco Rubio, Jeanne Shaheen , Robert Menendez and Representative Haley Stevens, and Representative Engel's statement on behalf of the House Foreign Relations Committee for Paul and concern about his treatment.  It shows that the freedom of an American should be the concern of every American and is a bi-partisan issue.  
 
Paul's detention - currently extended to May 28 but which can be extended repeatedly - is meant to isolate Paul.  While he remains in prison, the FSB investigator can continue to restrict access to communications and hinder consular access by the US and other governments.  The Russian Foreign Ministry took nearly 2 weeks to respond to a US request for a consular visit.  They were able to conduct a short visit to see Paul on the 15th.
 
Paul has been allowed to sign his Power of Attorney, however he could not return it to the US Embassy officials. It is now being held with the PAW by the FSB investigator. It will be another confirmation of the FSB Investigator's attempt to isolate Paul if these documents are not returned to US Embassy officials promptly.