04.05.19

Bipartisan Michigan Lawmakers Call on Secretary Pompeo to Press for Fair and Transparent Judicial Process for Detained U.S. Citizen and Michigan Resident Paul Whelan

WASHINGTON DC—Bipartisan members of the Michigan congressional delegation called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press for a fair and transparent judicial process in the case of Paul Whelan, the U.S. citizen and Michigan resident who has been detained by Russia since December 28, 2018. The lawmakers specifically called for Mr. Whelan to be allowed to select his own legal counsel and receive regular and unrestricted visits from U.S. officials. They also asked the State Department to press for any updates on the case in a timely manner. The letter to Secretary Pompeo included U.S. Senators Gary Peters, Debbie Stabenow, and U.S. Representatives Haley Stevens (MI-11), Fred Upton (MI-06), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Andy Levin (MI-09), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Justin Amash (MI-03), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), and Bill Huizenga (MI-02).

“As we monitor Mr. Whelan’s case closely, we continue to be troubled by Russian officials’ refusal to allow Mr. Whelan to sign power of attorney documents,” the lawmakers wrote. “Without these documents, his family is unable to access critical resources and manage his affairs. We are also concerned that the Russian government has prevented Mr. Whelan from choosing his own legal counsel. Instead, he is represented by an attorney reportedly recommended by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) who is clearly not acting in Mr. Whelan’s best interest. Mr. Whelan should be given the opportunity to select legal counsel that is appropriate for his case.”

“In addition, we strongly support Ambassador Huntsman’s efforts to gain regular and unrestricted access to Mr. Whelan. It is critical that Mr. Whelan be able to speak freely with representatives of the U.S. government, including U.S. Embassy officials, without limitations. Furthermore, the Russian government has refused to provide any information about the nature of Mr. Whelan’s arrest since he was detained three months ago.  We urge you to implore Russian officials to provide timely updates and information on Mr. Whelan’s case.”

The full text may be found below.

 

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

We write regarding Michigan resident Paul Whelan, who the Russian Federation has detained since December 28, 2018. We ask that you to continue to urge Russian officials to ensure that Mr. Whelan is provided a fair and transparent judicial process in accordance with Russia’s international commitments.

As we monitor Mr. Whelan’s case closely, we continue to be troubled by Russian officials’ refusal to allow Mr. Whelan to sign power of attorney documents. Without these documents, his family is unable to access critical resources and manage his affairs. We are also concerned that the Russian government has prevented Mr. Whelan from choosing his own legal counsel. Instead, he is represented by an attorney reportedly recommended by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) who is clearly not acting in Mr. Whelan’s best interest. Mr. Whelan should be given the opportunity to select legal counsel that is appropriate for his case.

In addition, we strongly support Ambassador Huntsman’s efforts to gain regular and unrestricted access to Mr. Whelan. It is critical that Mr. Whelan be able to speak freely with representatives of the U.S. government, including U.S. Embassy officials, without limitations. Furthermore, the Russian government has refused to provide any information about the nature of Mr. Whelan’s arrest since he was detained three months ago.  We urge you to implore Russian officials to provide timely updates and information on Mr. Whelan’s case.

We appreciate Ambassador Huntsman’s active involvement and strongly support efforts to quickly resolve this matter.