Moscow City Court Upholds Whelan's Detention Until December 29

A Moscow City Court has upheld a court decision to prolong the pretrial detention of Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen charged in Russia with espionage, until December 29.

Lawyers for the detained former U.S. Marine, who has rejected the charges, had argued at an appeal hearing on November 19 that Whelan should be subjected to a less restrictive detention, such as house arrest.

"The resolution of the Moscow Lefortovo district court is upheld, and the appeal is dismissed," the Moscow City Court said in its ruling, according to Interfax.

Whelan, who also holds Canadian, Irish, and British citizenship, has accused prison guards of abuse during his incarceration.

The 49-year-old was arrested in a hotel room in Moscow in December 2018 and accused of receiving classified information.

He was charged with espionage, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Whelan's family said he was in Moscow at the time for a wedding.

Whelan in the past has complained of poor conditions in prison and of abuse and his lawyer has said that his client needs surgery.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow on July 1 said its request for an independent medical examination of Whelan had been denied, noting that his condition had deteriorated.

In April, the embassy called on Russia to "stop playing games" and provide proof of Whelan's alleged espionage.

Based on reporting by Interfax