Former US marine held on spy charges in Russia ‘has detention extended’

Paul Whelan, who holds an Irish passport, was detained in December 2018

Paul Whelan, a former US Marine accused of espionage in Russia. Photograph: AFP

Paul Whelan, a former US Marine accused of espionage in Russia. Photograph: AFP

 

A Moscow court on Tuesday extended the detention of the former US marine Paul Whelan until March 29th on espionage charges, Interfax news agency reported.

Mr Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in December 2018 and accused of spying.

Deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Moscow, Bart Gorman, last week called for Russia to free Mr Whelan.

Mr Whelan was detained by agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service in a Moscow hotel room on December 28th last year.

Moscow says he was caught with a computer flash drive containing classified information. Mr Whelan says he was set up in a sting and had thought the drive, given to him by a Russian acquaintance, contained holiday photos.

He has been held in pre-trial detention while investigators look into his case.–Reuters