Day 966 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - August 20, 2021 - Lawyers File a Motion to Transfer

On Paul's 966th day as a Russian hostage, Paul's lawyers, Vladimir Zherebenkov and Olga Karlova, have filed a motion for his transfer to the US to serve out the remainder of his prison sentence [8/20/2021].  They have petitioned based on Article 469 and 470 of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code.  A Russian court could approve or decide, based on Article 471, that Paul is not a candidate for transfer. (Relevant Russian criminal code included below).

[Paul Whelan's defense filed a petition for his removal to the United States in court ( ]

[The Moscow City Court registered Whelan's petition to transfer him to the United States to serving his sentence - Incidents - TASS ]

As Ms. Karlova makes clear in the Interfax report, it's not clear what Paul's understanding of this legal process is and whether he has confirmed his support for it.  Some Russian media have indicated that "Paul" has requested a transfer: that's not at all clear.  The warden at IK-17 continues to prohibit phone calls to Paul's lawyers or to the U.S. Embassy, where Paul might be able to get information or advice.  We hope that Paul's wishes are clarified soon and that the FSIN stops prohibiting access to his lawyer.

[8/3/2021: Whelan's lawyer complained about the lack of communication with the ward - News - Incidents - Kommersant ]

While it might be positive to have Paul out of Russia, a successful transfer allows the Russian government to launder wrongful convictions.  If (a) the Russian court approves the petition and (b) the Russian government allows the transfer and (c) the U.S. accepts the transfer, Paul would then be serving a 16-year sentence for a crime he didn't commit, only in a U.S. prison and without a possibility to appeal the wrongful conviction.  That doesn't seem like fairness or justice.

[US State Department International Prisoner Transfer program:  7 FAM 480 INTERNATIONAL PRISONER TRANSFER PROGRAM ( ]