Marking Five Years Since Paul Whelan’s Wrongful Detention

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, who was arrested in Moscow at the end of last year looks through a cage's glass in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

PRESS STATEMENT
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
DECEMBER 27, 2023


December 28 marks five years since Russian authorities wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan. After a secret trial behind closed doors, Paul has spent years laboring in a Russian penal colony. In the past year alone, he has faced assault from other prisoners and harassment from Russian state-run media.

For far too long, Paul and his family have suffered the consequences of the Russian government’s decision to wrongfully detain U.S. citizens. Using people as political pawns is unacceptable. Since President Biden took office, the United States has secured the release of more than forty wrongful detainees, and not a day goes by without intensive U.S. Government efforts to bring Paul home. We will not rest until he is safely back with his family where he belongs.