Day 173 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - Update June 19 - Ambassador Bolton meeting

Paul Whelan's sister Elizabeth met with National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton, U.S. National Security Council Staff Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs Fiona Hill, and other staff at the White House last Friday [6/14/2019].

We were gratified to receive assurances that the U.S. government was engaged at many levels in Paul's false arrest and wrongful imprisonment.  As Ambassador Bolton said, it was "... a productive meeting ... on how to support ... Paul, who is imprisoned in Russia.  Russia has provided no evidence on wrongdoing."  We will continue to work with the U.S. State Department, administration staff, and Congressional representatives to secure his release.

But time works against Paul.  Russian police continue to isolate Paul, who has limited communication with Embassy staff and has received only a handful of letters during the nearly 6 months of his imprisonment.  Without evidence, the FSB's only option is to coerce a confession from Paul.  The sudden spate of letters to his family in April has proved temporary, and no mail from Paul has arrived since May 20. 

Tomorrow's hearing at Moscow City Court is unlikely to change his situation:  an American businessman, a tourist, falsely accused and facing another 3 months of wrongful imprisonment.  3 more months with an angry FSB investigator who is violating Russian and international law, and who has substantial control over Paul's welfare.  The sooner he is returned to his family in the U.S., the better.