Today is Paul's 1,000th as a hostage of the Russian government. [9/23/2021] Back in early January 2019, when Paul's FSB-appointed lawyer was on a beach vacation and talking about prisoner trades, I doubt anyone in our family thought Paul would still be wrongfully detained by Russia one thousand days later. But there Paul sits.
On Tuesday, Paul was once again visited by a U.S. Ambassador and U.S. Embassy consular staff [9/21/2021]. Ambassador Sullivan said "I will never stop advocating for Paul Whelan until the Russian authorities do the right thing and send him home to his family." Ambassador Sullivan expanded on this in a statement released by the Embassy: "All of us who care about Paul look forward to the day when he is released by the Russian authorities and is free to return home." The ongoing support by the U.S. State Department's American Citizen Services and the U.S. Embassy has been incredibly important to Paul throughout this injustice.
[U.S. Embassy tweet/photo: https://twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/status/1440395766548164615 ]
[Ambassador Sullivan's statement: https://ru.usembassy.gov/statement-from-u-s-ambassador-to-the-russian-federation-john-j-sullivan/ ]
The support has been tremendous - diplomatic notes, Ambassador visits, resolutions in Congress - but, unfortunately, it has not yet led to Paul's release. As Paul brings his third year as a Russian hostage to a close, three years stolen from all of us, we continue to hope that this support will mean more than words. And until this injustice is made right, Paul's life as a convict in Mordovia, with all its uncertainty and pettiness, continues.
Paul continues to speak with our parents by phone. It was during one of those calls that a senior prison official struck Paul [9/10/2021]. While the FSIN press office has denied it, the prison leadership themselves did not. Paul said that, in a meeting with one of the wardens, it was admitted that one of their staff, who may have been drunk, was in the wrong.
I've emailed the public monitoring commission to ask them to investigate. FSIN says it will share the video footage - since the attack happened in the prison administration building and was on tape - with relevant authorities. Hopefully, the monitor is able to review the tape and confirm which officer was responsible for the abuse. Or perhaps this is another injustice that will be ignored.
[Email: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jttBnKdtEJzhDFH5A ]
[FSIN denial, offer of video: https://www.interfax-russia.ru/main/vo-fsin-oprovergli-informaciyu-ob-izbienii-pola-uilana-v-kolonii ]
Paul was also finally given mail yesterday which, with the phone calls, are a lifeline to the outside world. Paul had not received any mail since August 4, apparently because the prison was without a translator. In the last few days, Paul was also visited by a Mordovian prosecutor. Paul didn't have time to explain to our parents what they discussed or the purpose of the visit. Perhaps it is related to the transfer petition filed by Paul's lawyers.
I often wonder if any of you expected to be getting these emails for so many months and years: births, deaths, career changes, beginnings and endings. Thank you for continuing to follow Paul's case. I hope it won't be for another 1,000 days.