The family of a retired US Marine detained by Russia on spying charges said on Tuesday January 1st that Paul Whelan was visiting Moscow for a wedding and is innocent.
According to Reuters, Paul Whelan had been staying with a wedding party for a fellow former Marine at the Metropol hotel in Moscow, said his brother David Whelan, who learned of the arrest on Monday December 31st.
Whelan's family said in a statement released on Twitter, “His innocence is undoubted, and we trust that his rights will be respected.”
A US State Department representative said Russia had notified it that a US citizen had been detained and it expected Moscow to provide consular access to see him.
Without providing details of the identity of the American or the reasons behind his detention, the representative said, “Russia’s obligations under the Vienna Convention require them to provide consular access. We have requested this access and expect Russian authorities to provide it.”
David Whelan declined to comment on his brother’s work status at the time of his arrest and whether his brother lived in Novi, Michigan, as address records indicate.