Day 545 - Paul Whelan - Lefortovo Prison Moscow - June 25, 2020 - No Appeal

Paul has decided not to appeal his sentence. As his lawyer, Olga Karlova describes it, Paul does not have faith in the Russian legal system and believes an appeal to be pointless. Additionally, Ms. Karlova estimates the appeal could have taken one to three months.

No-one in our family has spoken to Paul so we do not have any insight into his choice. The prison has continued to deny his access to a telephone, despite a court order in April allowing him two calls per month. Paul appears resigned that his only hope for freedom from this hostage-taking will happen diplomatically.

As Moscow remains under a pandemic lockdown, the only visitors Paul has had are his lawyers. Paul's consular access - which has been interfered with from the start - is now restricted to phone calls. While Russian media report that Paul will consult with Western diplomats about his next steps, they are mistaken. That is not what consular staff do.

Nor are families involved in discussions about resolving hostage situations like Paul's. While our family shares information with government agencies, we are not involved in nor consulted about their operations. Despite Ms. Moskalkova's recent comments to the contrary, Russian family members have denied being contacted. The Kremlin has indicated that it is not involved either.

For 18 months, we have watched Paul's case unfold with an eye to the legal process and to the political sphere. On July 3, the travesty of justice that is Paul's sentence will come into effect. From that point on, there can only be a political resolution. We hope that those who can bring Paul home will do so as swiftly as possible.

[Interview with Olga Karlova: ]
[Interview with Kommersant's Dimitry Drise on the Russian perspective on trades: ]
[Nobody knows what Ms. Moskalkova is talking about:; ]
[Peskov comments: ]