06.03.21

Peters Discusses Michiganders Danny Fenster, Paul Whelan in Call with President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) released the following statement after a call with President Biden’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, regarding Michiganders Danny Fenster and Paul Whelan, who are being held in detention abroad in Burma and Russia, respectively: 

“I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the latest regarding Danny Fenster and Paul Whelan with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. I remain very concerned by Danny Fenster’s detention in Burma, and my office will continue working with Danny’s family in Michigan, the State Department, and the U.S. Embassy in Burma to press for his release and to ensure his well-being. As a journalist, Danny has made it his mission to inform the world of the plight of the Burmese people since the military coup, and his unjust arrest and further stifling of the freedom the press is particularly outrageous.

“I also discussed the case of Paul Whelan, who remains held by Russian authorities – despite no evidence presented against him, no due process and a sham trial. Throughout this terrifying ordeal, Paul has been denied basic human rights and full consular access. It is past time for Paul to come back home, where his family has advocated tirelessly for his release.

“The families and loved ones of Danny Fenster and Paul Whelan have gone through unimaginable hardship and pain. I’ll continue pressing for both Danny and Paul’s full, unconditional release.”

Last month, Peters joined his Michigan delegation colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral letter calling for Fenster’s immediate and unconditional release.

Peters has held conversations with Biden Administration officials about the case of Paul Whelan and has worked towards Whelan’s release. Last year, Peters joined a bipartisan group of members in the Michigan Congressional delegation in urging then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press for a fair and transparent judicial process for Whelan. He has also called on then-President Trump to take “all appropriate action” to advocate for Whelan’s release and he urged the President to have the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs to work on securing Whelan’s release.

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