16:01 GMT05 December 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States demands that Russia immediately frees US citizen Paul Whelan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Monday after the Moscow City Court earlier in the day sentenced him to 16 years in a high-security prison on espionage charges.

    "The United States is outraged by the decision of a Russian court today to convict US citizen Paul Whelan after a secret trial, with secret evidence, and without appropriate allowances for defense witnesses," the statement said. "We demand Paul Whelan’s immediate release."

    The family of Paul Whelan expressed hope that President Donald Trump will act "swiftly" to bring him home, his brother David Whelan said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    "We will look to President Trump, who alone can act to bring Paul home. We hope he will do so swiftly," David Whelan said.

    Earlier in the day, the Moscow City Court sentenced US citizen Paul Whelan to 16 years in a high-security prison on espionage charges. Whelan insists on his innocence and said he would appeal against the sentence.

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Pesnya
    US spy suspect Paul Whelan

    Whelan, who also holds the citizenship of the UK, Canada and Ireland, was arrested in Russia in late 2018 on espionage charges. He denied the charges, saying that he came to Russia to attend his friend's wedding. 

    Tags:
    prison sentence, Russia, US, Paul Whelan, Mike Pompeo
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