Paul Whelan’s family welcomes release of basketball star

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Paul Whelan’s family welcomes release of basketball star

The family of Paul Whelan, an American held in Russia, welcomed the release of basketball star Brittney Griner but lamented a disappointment for us and Paul Whelan, and his brother David Whelan said the US government has no concessions the Russian government will take for Paul Whelan.

The news of Griner's release in a swap for the arms dealer Viktor Bout broke on Thursday morning.

Joe Biden said at the White House: "She s safe, she s on a plane, she s on her way home after months of being held under intolerable circumstances in Russia." The president said that Russia is treating Paul's case differently than Brittney s, and while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul's release, we are not giving up. We will never give up. Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, has been held in Russia since 2018, on espionage charges that the US and Whelan s family reject. In 2020, Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in jail. The US says he is wrongfully detained.

David Whelan said on Thursday: I am so glad Brittney Griner is on her way home. As a family member of a Russian hostage, I can only imagine the joy she will have, being reunited with her loved ones, and in time for the holidays. There is no greater success than for a wrongful detainee to be released and to go home. Whelan said the Biden administration had made the right decision and that this time, US government officials let us know that Paul would be left behind, unlike last April, when they left him. Trevor Reed, from Texas, was exchanged for a convicted drug trafficker.

David Whelan said that the early warning meant that our family was able to mentally prepare for what is now a public disappointment for us. It was a catastrophe for Paul Our parents, who have had calls with him every day since his return to IK-17 a labour camp on 2 December, and they will surely speak to him soon. Paul Whelan's hopes had soared with the knowledge that the US government was taking concrete steps for once towards his release, which he said he had been worried about where he would live when he got back to the US, but now he can't imagine his brother's hopes that a government will negotiate his freedom at this point. The US government does not have any concessions about Paul Whelan, according to the US government. Paul will be a prisoner until that changes.

It will be the fourth Christmas for Mum and Dad without Paul. They will be 85 and 83 on the fourth anniversary of his detention on December 28. Time is Paul's and our enemy. The likelihood that his parents will see his son again diminishes each day his wrongful detention continues.

I worry that Paul won't survive 12 more years in a Russian labour colony. Whelan stressed that we do not begrudge Ms Griner her freedom, adding that Brittney's and Paul's cases were never really intertwined. It's always been a possibility that one might be freed without the other. He said that the US government needs to be more assertive. If bad actors like Russia are going to grab innocent Americans, the US needs to be prepared for a quicker response, and to be prepared in advance. This could mean taking more law-breaking, Kremlin-connected Russians into custody, in Russia's case.

There aren't many around the world.