Day 101 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update April 8, 2019

Paul has been detained by Russian authorities, without evidence, for 101 days.

 

It was important for our family to hear Secretary of State Pompeo reaffirm the U.S. government's mission to return Americans held abroad [4/2/2019].  My thanks to the journalists who let us know he was scheduled to make the remarks. The lack of communication from the U.S. government's diplomats tends to confirm a feeling of inactivity at that level.

 

Unfortunately, the State Department continues to wait rather than act.  Our family has been told that the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs has not made a decision about Paul's case.  Recent Twitter posts from the US Embassy in Moscow (March 15March 22March 28, April 5) underscore that the U.S. government continues to wait for facts.  It is not clear what additional diplomatic pressure is being brought to bear to encourage Russian cooperation, as shown by Rep. Andy Levin's questioning of Secretary Pompeo.  Secretary Pompeo's remarks about Americans held by enemies and terrorists highlighted the fact that Americans wrongfully detained under other circumstances do not have access to the same resources.

 

The difficulty with "quiet diplomacy" is that, for families, it is not clear when the quiet merely signifies inaction.  We are glad to see the introduction - by Rep. Ted Deutch in the House and Sen. Bob Menendez in the Senate - of legislation that will clarify the sort of information the State Department needs before deciding to seek the return of Americans detained abroad.   We appreciate the attention being brought to the sham Russian legal process, as expressed in the Michigan Congressional delegation's letter to Secretary Pompeo about Paul's case.

 

Paul has continued to receive consular support and was visited by US Embassy staff on Thursday [4/4/2019].  The Irish consular staff saw him on March 22.  There continues to remain some concern about his health and the four governments - US, UK, Canadian, and Irish - are coordinating their approach on helping him to see a doctor who is not from the prison.  Since the FSB "lost" Paul's original Privacy Act waiver in the mail, his lawyers were able to secure a signed waiver and deliver it to the U.S. Embassy.  The prison has confirmed that books sent directly from Moscow bookstores to Paul - including a Russian-English dictionary - are being censored and he will not receive them.  Investigator Alexey Khiznyak continues to hold Paul's signed Power of Attorney, and to block incoming and outgoing letters.  These include letters and cards the US Embassy staff attempted to deliver Thursday.

 

We appreciate your continued interest in Paul's wrongful detention.