US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was outraged by the sentence on American Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage in the Russian Federation, and demands his immediate release.
вЂњOutraged by the verdict handed down today to Paul Whelan ...
The Russian authoritiesвЂ™ treatment of Paul continues to be terrifying, and we demand his immediate release, вЂњthe Secretary of State wrote on Twitter.
Pompeo stated that the trial was held in secrecy, evidence of WhelanвЂ™s guilt was presented secretly, and defense witnesses were denied proper access to the process.
The Moscow City Court on Monday sentenced Whelan to 16 years in a maximum-security colony for espionage. The prosecution requested Whelan 18 years in a maximum-security colony. The accused himself in the last word stated that he was not engaged in espionage.
The process was closely monitored in the United States, the American ambassador repeatedly came to hearings, but he was never allowed to go directly to the courtroom: in the case, the stamp is вЂњtop secretвЂќ, the examination was held in a closed mode.
During his detention, Whelan regularly complained about his state of health, the quality of medical care, the ban on calling his parents, threats from the detention center, and other things.
As a result, he was allowed to call home after 16 months of arrest and recently had hernia surgery, but the doctors recommended by the US Embassy were not allowed, believing that this was not necessary.
US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan called the Whelan trial вЂњopaque.вЂќ
The investigation does not officially disclose the story: the FSB press release only implied that Whelan was detained in Moscow at the end of 2018 during an espionage campaign. The defense claims that the American was the victim of provocation: he was given a flash drive on which he allegedly expected to see a photo from a tourist trip to Sergiev Posad.