Day 1441 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - December 8, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Hooray for Brittney!

I am so glad that Brittney Griner is on her way home.  As the family member of a Russian hostage, I can literally only imagine the joy she will have, being reunited with her loved ones, and in time for the holidays.  There is no greater success than for a wrongful detainee to be freed and for them to go home.  The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn't going to happen.

This time, US government officials let us know in advance that Paul would be left behind [12/7/2022], unlike last April when they left him.  That early warning meant that our family has been able to mentally prepare for what is now a public disappointment for us.  And a catastrophe for Paul.  I do not know if he is aware yet, although he will surely learn from Russian media.  Our parents have had calls with him every day since his return to IK-17 on December 2d, and they will surely speak to him soon.

After learning of this outcome, I went back to the post I sent out when Trevor Reed was released.  It is so important to me that it is clear that we do not begrudge Ms. Griner her freedom.  As I have often remarked, Brittney's and Paul's cases were never really intertwined.  It has always been a strong possibility that one might be freed without the other.  The sentiments I shared in April about Trevor are unchanged:  this is the event we wish for so much for our own family.  She will be reunited with her family.  Brittney is free.  And Paul is still a hostage.

But how many more times do I need to write that?

At some level, our family has steeled ourselves for this likelihood.  And I think, as the use of wrongful detentions and hostage diplomacy continues around the globe, it's clear the US government needs to be more assertive.  If bad actors like Russia are going to grab innocent Americans, the US needs a swifter, more direct response, and to be prepared in advance.  In Russia's case, this may mean taking more law-breaking, Kremlin-connected Russians into custody.  It's not like there aren't plenty around the world.

Despite the possibility that there might be an exchange without Paul, our family is still devastated.  I can't even fathom how Paul will feel when he learns.  Paul has worked so hard to survive nearly 4 years of this injustice.  His hopes had soared with the knowledge that the US government was taking concrete steps for once towards his release.  He'd been worrying about where he'd live when he got back to the US.

And now what?  How do you continue to survive, day after day, when you know that your government has failed twice to free you from a foreign prison?  I can't imagine he retains any hope that a government will negotiate his freedom at this point.  It's clear that the US government has no concessions that the Russian government will take for Paul Whelan.  And so Paul will remain a prisoner until that changes.

It will be the fourth Christmas Mum and Dad live through without Paul.  They will be 85 and 83 on the fourth anniversary of his detention [12/28/2022]  Time is Paul's, and our, enemy.  The likelihood that our parents will see their son again diminishes each day his wrongful detention continues.  Increasingly, I worry that Paul himself won't survive 12 more years in a Russian labor colony.  He has tried to stay healthy but one wonders how long that determination to keep going can endure.

 

-- David Whelan, Whelan family spokesperson

 

 
 

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  1. Day 1431 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 28, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] No Calls
  2. Day 1421 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 18, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Another Consular Visit
  3. Day 1413 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 10, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Veteran in a Foreign Land
  4. Day 1387 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - October 15, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Paul, Other IK-17 Prisoners Walk for Foley Freedom Run
  5. Day 1384 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - October 12, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Paul Calls Home
  6. Day 1378 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - October 6, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Russia Continues to Act in Bad Faith
  7. Day 1359 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - September 17, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Meeting with President Biden
  8. Day 1348 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - September 4, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] Toil and Trouble
  9. Day 1316 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - August 5, 2022 - Watch and Wait
  10. Day 1313 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - August 2, 2022 - Will Paul Hang in the Wind Again?
  11. Day 1306 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 27, 2022 - US offer to Russian Government
  12. Day 1300 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 19, 2022 - 1,300 Days, But Progress by Biden Administration
  13. Day 1292 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 12, 2022 - Thanks to President Biden, Hope for Governor Richardson
  14. Day 1288 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 8, 2022 - President Biden Calls
  15. Day 1286 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 6, 2022 - Unfocused White House
  16. Day 1273 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - June 22, 2022 - Visits by the US, UK
  17. Day 1258 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - June 8, 2022 - Trades Off the Table #NotAllTools
  18. Day 1243 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - May 24, 2022 - Continue the Fight
  19. Day 1238 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - May 19, 2022 - What Does It Take?
  20. Day 1217 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - April 28, 2022 - Third Congressional Resolution Passed
  21. Day 1216 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - April 27, 2022 - Trevor Reed Released
  22. Day 1181 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - March 23, 2022 - Paul Saves An Attempted Suicide
  23. Day 1161 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - March 3, 2022 - Concessions Clarified
  24. Day 1133 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - February 3, 2022 - Prison Investigations
  25. Day 1120 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - January 21, 2022 - Secretary Blinken Comments
  26. Day 1096 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - December 28, 2021 - Three Years a Hostage
  27. Day 1074 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - December 6, 2021 - US Engagement on Wrongful Detainees
  28. Day 1070 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - December 2, 2021 - Additional-Corruption-Investigations
  29. Day 1064 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 26, 2021 - Back in Contact
  30. Day 1057 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 19, 2021 - IK-17 Warden Denisov Arrested
  31. Day 1056 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 18, 2021 - Prison Retaliation
  32. Day 1046 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 8, 2021 - Paul waits
  33. Day 1000 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - Sept 23, 2021 - 1000 Days a Hostage
  34. Day 993 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - Sept 16, 2021 - Three months since Biden/Putin Summit
  35. Day 985 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - Sept 8, 2021 - Mordovian Supreme Court to Hear Transfer Request
  36. Day 966 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - August 20, 2021 - Lawyers File a Motion to Transfer
  37. Day 955 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - August 9, 2021 - Out of Solitary
  38. Day 950 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - August 4, 2021 - Still a Russian Government Hostage
  39. Day 938 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 23, 2021 - Senate Resolution Passes
  40. Day 936 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 21, 2021 - Silent Summer
  41. Day 920 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 5, 2021 - Back at IK-17
  42. Day 913 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - June 29, 2021 - Where's Whelan?
  43. Day 899 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - June 14, 2021 - Request for President Biden
  44. Day 895 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - June 10, 2021 - Milestones
  45. Day 891 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - June 7, 2021 - Retaliation and Visitors
  46. Day 880 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - May 26, 2021 - Consular Support, Presidential Summit
  47. Day 867 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - May 14, 2021 - Consular Services Temporarily Restored
  48. Day 854 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - April 30, 2021 - Consular Support Cut
  49. Day 840 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - April 16, 2021 - Sanctions and Summits
  50. Day 824 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - March 31, 2021 - spring visitors to Paul Whelan
  51. Day 800 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - March 7, 2021 - Visit by Canadian Ambassador LeClaire
  52. Day 768 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - February 3, 2021 - State Dept Listens
  53. Day 761 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - January 26, 2021 - A New Hope
  54. Day 716 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - December 15, 2020 - 23 1/2 Months in Russian Detention
  55. Day 686 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 13, 2020 - Human Rights Visit
  56. Day 675 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 5, 2020 - Prison Inflicts Sleep Deprivation
  57. Day 650 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - October 8, 2020 - Hostage Diplomacy
  58. Day 636 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - Sept 24, 2020 - Ambassador Sullivan Visit
  59. Day 634 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Sept 22, 2020 - US Ambassador Visits Camp IK-17
  60. Day 628 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Sept 16, 2020 - Paul Whelan allegedly moved to Mordovia
  61. Day 612 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia - August 31, 2020 - Nowhere Man
  62. Day 559 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - July 3, 2020 - Some News, Some Waiting
  63. Day 545 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - June 25, 2020 - No Appeal
  64. Day 536 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - June 16, 2020 - What's Next
  65. Day 535 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - June 15, 2020 - Sentenced to 16 Years
  66. Day 531 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - June 11, 2020 - Last Update Before Trial Ends
  67. Day 518 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - May 29, 2020 - Emergency Surgery
  68. Day 515 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - May 26, 2020 - Trial Over, Sentencing on June 15
  69. Day 510 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - May 21, 2020 - Setup for a $1400 Debt
  70. Day 507 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - May 14, 2020 - The Trial Continues
  71. Day 500 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - May 7, 2020
  72. Day 488 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - April 29, 2020 - Prosecution Rests, Still No Evidence of Espionage
  73. Day 474 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - April 15, 2020 - Hearings, Virus Threat
  74. Day 461 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - April 2, 2020 - Denied PPE, Court Hearings Postponed
  75. Day 453 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - March 25, 2020 - Visit by Three Ambassadors
  76. Day 447 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - March 19, 2020 - Secret Trial Scheduled for March 23
  77. Day 432 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - March 4, 2020 - Turns 50 in Prison, Awaits Trial
  78. Day 419 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - February 22, 2020 - Trial Approaching
  79. Day 402 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - February 3, 2020 - Ambassador Sullivan's Visit, Appeal Hearing
  80. Day 398 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - January 30, 2020 - First Consular Visit in 2020
  81. Day 362 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Christmas Eve, 2019 -Detention Extended...Again
  82. Day 357 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - December 19, 2019 -Next Detention Hearing, Job Loss
  83. Day 355 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - December 17, 2019 -Collateral Damage
  84. Day 350 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - December 12, 2019 -Russian Corruption, American Defiance
  85. Day 344 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update December 6, 2019 - Prison Turkey, MFA Loses Facts
  86. Day 328 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update November 21, 2019 - Detention Continues
  87. Day 326 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update November 18, 2019 - No Medical, Misinformation
  88. Day 323 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update November 15, 2019 - Upcoming appeal hearing
  89. Day 300 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update October 24, 2019 - Detention until December 29
  90. Day 298 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update October 22, 2019 - House Resolution H.Res.552 passes
  91. Day 294 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update October 18, 2019 - David Urban lobbies for Paul
  92. Day 278 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update October 2 - Ambassador Huntsman's last visit
  93. Day 271 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update September 24 - detention appeal denied...again
  94. Day 261 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update September 17 - Paul tells media about set-up by FSB
  95. Day 259 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update September 13 - House/Senate resolutions introduced
  96. Day 238 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update August 28 - prison officials retaliating
  97. Day 217 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update August 1 - Foreign Minister Lavrov's wish list
  98. Day 200 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update July 1 - Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov's comments
  99. Day 182 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update June 28 - G20 summit
  100. Day 173 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update June 19 - Ambassador Bolton meeting