This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A Moscow court has extended the pretrial detention for former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is being held in Russia on an espionage charge.
The Lefortovo District Court on February 22 rejected a motion filed by Paul Whelan’s lawyer to transfer him to house arrest and prolonged his pretrial arrest until May 28.
Russian court rules to extend pre-trial detention of ex-U.S. Marine Paul #Whelan, held on suspicion of spying, for three more months; rejects lawyer’s motion to transfer Whelan to house arrest.
— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (@RFERL) February 22, 2019
Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said the court ruling will be appealed.
A former U.S. Marine, Whelan, who holds U.S., Irish, Canadian, and British citizenship, was arrested on December 28 in Moscow and charged with spying.
The charge carries a potential sentence of 20 years if convicted. His family has said he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
Russian officials have not released details of the allegations against him.
Russian court extends detention of former U.S. marine Paul Whelan by three months https://t.co/icdsmgteWG
— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) February 22, 2019
Whelan was working as a global security director for a U.S. auto-parts manufacturer at the time of his arrest.
Zherebenkov has said that his client is innocent and suggested earlier that Russian officials might consider exchanging him for Maria Butina, a Russian woman who pleaded guilty in December to U.S. charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent.