Paul Whelan’s sister ‘crushed’ by Biden’s call to Griner’s wife
The sister of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who was detained in Russia while on vacation more than three years ago, described her reaction to President Biden’s Wednesday phone call to the wife of imprisoned American basketball player Brittney Griner as “crushed.”
Elizabeth Whelan asked the president to talk about methods to ensure her brother’s release by tweeting a quote from a White House news release.
She said, “Still searching for that news release stating @POTUS has talked to anybody in OUR family regarding #PaulWhelan, illegally held in #Russia for 3.5 years.
“I’m devastated. He must speak with the Whelans if he wants to discuss ensuring Paul’s release! What should we think? Added she.
Her post comes after Cherelle Griner received a call from Vice President Harris and Biden. According to the White House, Biden and Harris reassured Cherelle Griner that they are giving Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, “every available support” to return home.
After telling CBS that it was “extremely upsetting” not to have heard from the president personally, Cherelle Griner received a call from Biden. In another letter to Biden, Brittney Griner pleaded with him not to “forget about me and the other American captives.”
David Whelan, Paul Whelan’s twin brother, said of Cherelle Griner’s interview with the president, “I don’t envy Ms. Griner and her supporters their success in obtaining the president’s attention when he overlooks so many other families.”
It implies that the only way to obtain the White House’s attention under President Trump or President Biden is to have notoriety, riches, and resources, which the majority of unlawful prisoners have not.
Paul Whelan’s case is still a top priority, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, so David Whelan said the family would have to “wait and see.”
At some level, he continued, “we take that at face value. “Unfortunately, if it turns out that Ms. Griner is released but Paul isn’t, we’ll have to ask ourselves the same question we did when Trevor Reed was freed: Does the White House only act on cases when the president makes the effort to call? How do families convey that to their loved ones?
Paul Whelan, who has been held in custody in Russia for three and a half years, is currently incarcerated in Mordovia and completing a 16-year term of hard labour. He was detained in Moscow on suspicion of espionage.
In a prisoner swap earlier this year, Russia freed another detainee, American Marine Trevor Reed.