Stevens calls on ambassador to push for Whelan's release from Moscow prison

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens has called on the U.S. Ambassador to Russia to increase his efforts to obtain the release of Novi resident Paul Whelan. 

Whelan, 49, the former director of global security for Auburn Hills-based auto supplier BorgWarner, has been in a Moscow prison since Dec. 28, 2018, on spying charges. Russia’s Federal Security Service arrested him at his hotel after agents allegedly found a USB drive with classified information in his room. 

Paul Whelan of Novi has been imprisoned since his arrest for  alleged spying in Moscow on Dec. 28, 2018.

The former U.S. Marine has been deprived of a fair trial, phone calls with his family or medical attention, said Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, in a statement Friday, and held without “adequate public information or evidence about the charges against him.”

Additionally, Whelan has alleged abuse by his guards at Lefortovo prison and is “suffering from a hernia,” Stevens said. 

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan called for the release of Whelan last month, noting the case had gone on for too long with no evidence shown by investigators. 

“Russian authorities show no credible justification for isolating Paul and refuse to allow Paul to get proper medical attention,” Sullivan said. “This is shameful treatment.”

Stevens echoed that call and noted that a resolution in the House calling for his release had received a unanimous support, as did a Senate resolution introduced by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.

“I now urge you to continue those efforts and use your new post to do everything in your power to secure his release. It is time for Paul Whelan to come home,” Stevens said. 

Whelan’s family has said Paul was in Russia for a friend’s wedding when he was arrested and charged with espionage. His lawyers have said Whelan was framed and had no knowledge of the classified data on a flash drive he was handed as part of the alleged setup.