Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained and accused of espionage, stands inside a defendants’ cage throughout his verdict listening to in Moscow, Russia June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian courtroom discovered ex-U.S. marine Paul Whelan responsible of spying for the United States on Monday and sentenced him to 16 years in jail after a closed trial which U.S. diplomats mentioned was unfair and opaque.
Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, has been in custody since he was detained by brokers from Russia’s Federal Security Service in a Moscow lodge room on Dec. 28 2018.
Moscow says Whelan, 50, was caught red-handed with a pc flash drive containing categorised info. Whelan, who pleaded not responsible, mentioned he was arrange in a sting and had thought the drive, given to him by a Russian acquaintance, contained vacation pictures.
U.S. diplomats have described the case as a “significant obstacle” to bettering already poor bilateral ties and have repeatedly mentioned there is no such thing as a proof in opposition to him and requested Russia to launch him.
State prosecutors, who accused Whelan of being not less than a rating U.S. army intelligence colonel, had requested the courtroom to sentence Whelan to 18 years in a most safety jail.
Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Andrew Osborn and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn