Paul Whelan calls home from Russia after more than a week without contact, brother says

ByJennifer Hansler, CNN, CNNWire
Friday, December 2, 2022
Detained American met with US, Irish officials at Russian penal colony
Wrongfully detained American Paul Whelan met with US officials at a Russian penal colony. Britney Griner is in the same area of Russia.

Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia, was able to call home Friday after more than a week without contact with his family, his brother David said.

Paul, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence, said he had been moved to a prison hospital and "did not say why he was there, but did say he would call again later," David said in an email, adding that their parents believe he will be returning to his normal penal colony Friday, CNN reported.

"So the call at least acts as a 'proof of life' even if nothing else has been explained: When Paul went there, why, why the calls stopped, why the US Embassy had to seek information about his whereabouts and the Russian authorities refused to respond, etc.," David said of the call to their parents, which took place early Friday morning ET.

SEE ALSO | Wrongfully detained American Paul Whelan met with US, Irish embassy officials at Russia penal colony

David said Paul was able to wish their father a happy belated birthday after not being able to speak with him on his actual birthday Wednesday.

Whelan's family had become concerned because he had "repeatedly" told his family that "if he doesn't call home for more than 3 days, to alert the US Embassy," David said in an email Monday.

The Biden administration has worked to secure the release of Paul and another American wrongfully detained in Russia, US women's basketball star Brittney Griner.

Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in early August, was recently transferred to a different penal colony in the same region where Whelan is detained.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

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