WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to the news of the conviction of U.S. citizen and political prisoner Paul Whelan to 16 years in prison following false accusations of espionage by the Russian regime.
“Paul Whelan’s detainment and conviction under Moscow’s courts illustrate yet another example of the Putin regime’s disregard for basic human rights and rule of law. Whelan has been wrongfully jailed for 17 months, during which he has been denied contact with his family, medical care during a global pandemic, and his right to a proper defense. To be sentenced to 16 years in prison through a secret trial, without any evidence, and without counsel is a clear violation of internationally recognized human rights.
“It is unacceptable for us to allow Russia to continue perpetrating this type of injustice, especially with the life of an American citizen on the line. I urge the Administration to step up on Whelan’s behalf and use all the diplomatic tools at its disposal to fight for his freedom.”