Brother calls Paul Whelan’s ongoing detention “a catastrophe” after prisoner swap for Brittney Griner


The brother of 52-year-old U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan, who continues to be imprisoned in Russia, praised the Biden administration for its profitable efforts to free Brittney Griner however known as his brother’s continued detention “a catastrophe” in an announcement issued after the WNBA star’s launch on Thursday.

“I am so glad that Brittney Griner is on her way home,” David Whelan wrote. “As the family member of a Russian hostage, I can literally only imagine the joy she will have, being reunited with her loved ones, and in time for the holidays.”

Noting the prisoner alternate that passed off within the United Arab Emirates to safe Griner’s launch, which adopted months of negotiations between the U.S. and Russia, he added: “The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”

Griner, who was arrested in Moscow on drug prices final February and held in varied Russian prisons throughout the months that adopted, boarded a airplane headed again to the U.S. early Thursday, President Joe Biden stated in a tweet. Officials have been in a position to negotiate the athlete’s freedom through a prisoner swap for worldwide arms seller Viktor Bout, who was beforehand in U.S. custody.

Paul Whelan, left, stays imprisoned in Russia after the U.S. efficiently negotiated a prisoner swap to safe the discharge of Brittney Griner, proper, who was additionally detained there.


Paul Whelan has been imprisoned in Russia for the final 4 years, since his arrest and conviction on espionage prices that the U.S. has known as false. He has remained in custody as different imprisoned Americans have secured their freedom, together with Trevor Reed, who was launched from Russia in April. The Whelan household was not notified upfront when that occurred, in line with David Whelan, who stated on Thursday that the federal government “this time” informed them beforehand that “Paul would be left behind” as Griner returned residence.

David Whelan stated the “early warning meant that our family has been able to mentally prepare for what is now a public disappointment for us. And a catastrophe for Paul.” 

Although he didn’t know whether or not his brother had already been made conscious of the deal between the U.S. and Russia that led to Griner’s launch, David Whelan prompt that “he will surely learn from Russian media” or their dad and mom, who he stated have spoken with Paul each day since Dec. 2.

“It is so important to me that it is clear that we do not begrudge Ms. Griner her freedom,” David Whelan wrote. However, he additionally known as on the U.S. to be extra assertive in its efforts to safe his brother’s launch, and proposed that authorities implement “a swifter, more direct response” to imprisoned Americans. “In Russia’s case, this may mean taking more law-breaking, Kremlin-connected Russians into custody.”

Although President Biden insisted in public remarks on Thursday that “we’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan,” David Whelan stated he worries about how his brother will react to the news of Griner’s freedom however not his personal.

“How do you continue to survive, day after day, when you know that your government has failed twice to free you from a foreign prison?” he wrote. “I can’t imagine he retains any hope that a government will negotiate his freedom at this point.  It’s clear that the U.S. government has no concessions that the Russian government will take for Paul Whelan. And so Paul will remain a prisoner until that changes.”


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