The Russian prosecutor has demanded 18 years in prison against the American Paul Whelan. That’s what his lawyer said.
The former Marine was arrested in December 2018 on suspicion of espionage. The judge will rule on the case on 15 June.
Whelan, 50, who holds a US, British, Canadian and Irish passport, was arrested for allegedly receiving state secrets. He denies the charges and says he has been tricked.
Whelan says he was in Russia for a wedding and got a USB stick from an acquaintance assuming it contained vacation photos.
The maximum penalty for espionage is 20 years in prison. The American’s lawyer says there is little evidence against Whelan.
According to Vladimir Zherebenkov, the knowledge that the USB stick gave is the only witness against Whelan, while the rest of his old acquaintances in Russia testified in his favour.