Walberg, Peters, Stabenow, Stevens, Kildee Call on Russian Government to Release Michigander Paul Whelan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Tim Walberg (MI-07) joined U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Representatives Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Dan Kildee (MI-05) to call on the Russian government to release Michigan native Paul Whelan, who has been detained for over eight months without evidence presented. Paul’s sister Elizabeth Whelan joined the Members, urging Congress to pass their bipartisan, bicameral resolution that was introduced this week condemning the Russian government and demanding Paul’s immediate release.
“Paul Whelan has been unjustly detained by the Russian government since last year. Paul’s entire family, including his parents who live in my district, are deeply concerned about his health and safety. As a delegation, Democrats and Republicans alike, we are committed to raising awareness about Paul’s case, coordinating with the State Department, and advocating for his freedom,” said Congressman Walberg.
“Russian authorities have presented no credible evidence against Paul. I’m very concerned about Paul’s health condition and access to consular service throughout his detention,” said Senator Peters. “With no clear evidence presented after over nine months, it is time for Paul to come home to Michigan. I’m proud to help introduce a Congressional resolution reaffirming our support for Paul – and our hope that this whole ordeal comes to an end soon for him and his family.”
“Paul Whelan needs to come home. He needs to be with his family and receive the medical care he needs as soon as possible,” said Senator Stabenow. “I will continue to work with his family and the Administration to bring him home.”
“For months, we have asked for the Russian government to give Paul Whelan a fair and transparent judicial process to no avail,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “After more than eight months in a Moscow prison, without full consular access and without being able to speak to his family, Paul’s health is deteriorating. If Russia cannot produce any evidence after keeping an American citizen detained for more than eight months, they should release him immediately and let him come home and get the medical care he needs. I am proud to join U.S. Senator Gary Peters to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral resolution calling for Paul’s release.”
“The Russian government has given no clear explanation why Paul Whelan is not home with his family, which is why this resolution to hold the Russian government accountable is so important. I am grateful to Senator Peters, Senator Stabenow and Congresswoman Stevens for their leadership bringing Paul home. I am hopeful we are able to welcome Paul back to Michigan in the near future,” said Congressman Kildee.
“Paul's unlawful and continued detention is quite simply a violation of the fundamental rights of an American citizen,” said Elizabeth Whelan, Paul’s sister. “We can't allow for American citizens to be used in a political tug of war. This cannot be tolerated. We don't know the circumstances surrounding his arrest, but we should all be alarmed and outraged at this continued injustice. I urge you all to stand with us as we work to bring Paul Whelan home.”
The resolution calls on Russia to either provide evidence or release Paul Whelan, who has been detained since last December in Russia while visiting the country for a friend’s wedding. The resolution also calls for due process and unrestricted access to consular service for Paul Whelan. This effort comes amid reports about Paul Whalen’s declining health and treatment while imprisoned.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of Michigan Congressional delegation members wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press for a fair and transparent judicial process for Paul.