Paul Whelan’s family has no immediate plans to visit him in Russia, his brother has said, rejecting Whelan’s lawyer’s claims earlier on Tuesday.
Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine who also holds British, Irish and Canadian passports, was detained by Russia's Federal Security Service on Dec. 28 on espionage charges. His relatives have said he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
On Tuesday, Interfax cited Whelan’s lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov as saying that the Whelan family would be traveling to Moscow next week and would seek access to him at the notorious Lefortovo Prison where he is detained.
In comments to The Moscow Times on Tuesday, Paul’s brother David Whelan denied Zherebenkov’s claims.
“We have no plans, imminent or otherwise, to come to Russia,” David Whelan said, adding that: “The lawyer is, once again, incorrect.”
Last week, The Daily Beast reported that, over Russia’s extended winter holidays, the lawyer was spending his break in the Dominican Republic, some 9,000 kilometers away from his client.
“The prison is closed for the holidays, anyway,” Zherebenkov was cited by The Daily Beast as saying. “The investigators will begin introducing us to the case on January 14.”