December 9, 2023

(NewsNation) — American journalist Evan Gershkovich was arrested and charged with espionage in Russia. But, he’s not the one American wrongfully detained.

Paul Whelan, a U.S. Marine veteran, is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia on espionage prices the U.S. calls politically motivated. He’s been held in Russia since 2018.

David Whelan stated his brother has a “legitimate concern” that he could also be left behind once more, after negotiations fails to deliver house when WNBA all-star Brittney Griner was launched in December 2022 after 10 months of detainment.

“I believe since we now have seen that he has been left behind twice already, that’s a legitimate concern,” David advised NewsNation. “I believe he’s anxious that he’s going to must spend the complete 16 years of his sentence in Russia. I believe he’s involved that he’s going to as soon as once more undergo a strategy of perhaps having some hope of being launched after which seeing himself being left behind.”

The U.S. hasn’t stated whether or not or not it would contemplate a prisoner swap to safe Gershkovich’s launch.

U.S. officers have stated they don’t have a selection as to which American returns house. Additionally, with Griner’s case, it wasn’t that officers wished to go away Paul Whelan or they didn’t combat laborious to get him again, however that Griner was launched, and he was not.

David Whelan stated Russia holds “Individuals for extortion functions.”

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“I believe the Kremlin is holding Individuals for extortion functions. That’s all. I believe that they’re opportunistic,” he stated. “I don’t have any query that Ms. Griner got here house as a result of that was the one commerce that was out there to the Individuals on the finish of final 12 months.”

But, he stated he thinks the U.S. authorities wants to determine find out how to deliver Individuals house and “not go away them behind.” He additionally stated he thinks they should do extra when it comes to negotiations, particularly in gentle of the battle in Ukraine.

“They’re getting higher at this. The wrongful detention label for Mr. Gershkovich got here very, in a short time. That course of — it appears to be rushing up. However I believe that they do have to escalate both their strain or their concessions so as to resolve these circumstances sooner as properly.”

Gershkovich, a Wall Avenue Journal reporter, may have the prospect to enchantment the espionage prices he faces in Russia this month.