Ex-Marine asks Trump for help with Russian spying charges

A former U.S. Marine accused of spying in Russia reportedly made a public plea to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE for help on Thursday.

“Mr president [Trump], we cannot keep America great unless we aggressively protect and defend American citizens wherever they are in the world,” Paul Whelan told reporters, according to Reuters.

“I am asking the leaders and governments in Ottawa, Dublin, London and Washington for their help and public statements of support,” he said from inside a glass cage.

Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, has been detained since his December arrest in Moscow. 

He was formally charged with espionage in January and faces up to 20 years in jail if found guilty, Reuters noted.

Whelan has denied the allegation and said he was traveling in the county to attend a wedding. U.S. officials have remained adamant that he is not a spy. 

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has visited Whelan in custody and been in contact with his family. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran Trump: 'We already started' talks to get A$AP Rocky home from Sweden MORE has demanded more information about Whelan’s arrest and detention from Russia.

“We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of, and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return,” Pompeo said earlier this year. 

Last month, a Russian judge ordered that Whelan's detention be extended for three more months after the former Marine reportedly requested a new investigator be assigned to his case due to allegations of abuse.

"I want to tell the world that I am a victim of political kidnap and ransom," Whelan said during a press conference in May. “This is retaliation for sanctions."

"There is absolutely no legitimacy. I have been threatened. There are abuses and harassment that I am constantly subject to. There is a case for isolation," he continued, before listing alleged abuses committed by prison staff.

The former Marine said that he was being subjected to “typical POW Chapter 1 isolation” techniques to run him down and described his imprisonment as the “Salem witch trial mentality.” 

"I have not had a shower in two weeks, I can't use a barber, I have to cut my own hair. I can't have medical treatment, I can't have dental treatment," Whelan said, according to CBS.