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Russian judge orders ex-Marine to be detained through December on espionage charges

Russian judge orders ex-Marine to be detained through December on espionage charges
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A Russian judge ordered former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan to remain in jail until Dec. 29 on espionage charges, Reuters cited the Russian Interfax news agency as reporting Thursday.

Russia detained Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, last December on accusations of espionage. Moscow alleges to have caught him spying, but Whelan has denied all the allegations and maintained his detention is retaliation or sanctions levied in response to Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election. 

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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoChina labels human rights criticism 'groundless' Trump to attend private RNC donor retreat On China, is Biden channeling Trump or Trump's administration? They're not the same MORE has called for Russia to release information on why Whelan is being held, saying the administration will demand his release if the detention is “not appropriate.”

“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, according to Reuters.

The House of Representatives this week passed a resolution by voice vote calling on the Russian government to provide evidence of wrongdoing or else release Whelan.

The resolution calls for Russia to “provide unrestricted consular access to Paul Whelan while he remains in detention” and ensure due process. It also “expresses sympathy” to Whelan’s family. It also urges President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE and Pompeo to ramp up pressure on Moscow to ensure a transparent judicial process is provided.

“By bringing up my resolution today, H.Res. 552, we are making clear to the Russian government and President Putin that Congress will not tolerate the indefinite detention of a U.S. Citizen without evidence,” Rep. Haley StevensHaley Maria StevensIowa Democrat quarantining after staffer tests positive for COVID-19 Democrats condemn 'lawlessness' amid Capitol chaos Democrat Haley Stevens hangs on to Michigan House seat MORE (D-Mich.), who spearheaded the resolution, said on the House floor.