Successful Biden-Putin Summit May Lead To Whelan's Release - Brother

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Successful Biden-Putin Summit May Lead to Whelan's Release - Brother

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 15th June, 2021) A successful summit between Russian and US Presidents later this week may lead to the release of former US marine Paul Whelan from Russian prison, where he jailed on espionage charges, his brother David Whelan told Sputnik on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with NBC on Monday said he would consider a prisoner exchange with the United States as there are more Russians in US prisons than Americans in Russian prisons.

"If the summit is successful, it could lay the groundwork for Paul to eventually be freed," David Whelan said.

He added he would be surprised if US and Russian leaders specifically discuss his brother's case during their summit in Geneva.

"But the White House has said President [Joe] Biden will discuss humanitarian concerns and perhaps arbitrary detentions," he added.

Paul Whelan, who was arrested in December 2018, is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage per a Moscow court's verdict delivered last June. The convict, who is also a citizen of Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, has maintained he is innocent and insisted that he came to Russia for a friend's wedding. Court papers have revealed that he has frequented Russia since 2007.