This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has tweeted that its request for an outside physician to be allowed to examine U.S. citizen Paul Whelan, who has been jailed in Russia on espionage charges, has been denied.
The former Marine “is provided with basic medical treatment at Lefortovo [detention center in Moscow],” the embassy wrote. “But his health condition requires more than what the detention center can provide.”
“#PaulWhelan’s condition has deteriorated,” the embassy said.
The tweet came just days after the U.S. Embassy in Moscow sent an official note of protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry asking that it look into allegations that Whelan had been mistreated in custody.
Whelan also holds Canadian, Irish, and British citizenship. He was arrested in a hotel room in Moscow in December 2018 and accused of receiving classified information.
He was charged with espionage, which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
Whelan has denied the charges and has publicly complained of poor conditions in prison.
In a brief statement to reporters during a courtroom appearance last month, Whelan appealed directly to U.S. President Donald Trump for help, saying that he was mistreated and isolated “in order to force a confession.”
The deputy chief of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, Valery Maksimenko, said on June 28 that Whelan’s safety “has been fully secured” in custody.