WASHINGTON (AP) – The brother of a U.S. citizen arrested in Russia on espionage charges says he’s innocent and was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow on Friday. The Russian Federal Security Service, in announcing the arrest three days later, said Whelan was caught “during an espionage operation,” but gave no details.
His brother, David Whelan, said in a statement posted Tuesday on Twitter that his brother’s “innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected.”
David Whelan said his brother is a retired Marine and the family is “deeply concerned for his safety and well-being.”
The Russian spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
The State Department said Monday it has pushed for consular access to the detained American.