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US citizen detained in Moscow was there for a wedding, his brother says

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Posted at 8:34 AM, Jan 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-01 08:34:41-05

A US citizen detained in Russia on accusations of spying is a retired Marine who was in Moscow for a wedding, and his detention has his family concerned about his welfare, his twin brother said Tuesday.

American Paul Whelan was arrested Friday in Moscow on suspicion of carrying out an act of espionage, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has said. His family rejects the accusation.

“Paul is a retired Marine and was visiting Moscow to attend a wedding … We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being. His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected,” Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, said in a statement released Tuesday to CNN.

David Whelan said the family first noticed that Paul “was not in communication on the 28th (Friday), which was very much out of character for him even when he was traveling.”

The family learned about Paul’s detention only on Monday morning after media reports emerged, David Whelan said.

The family has “contacted Congressional representatives, the US Embassy, and the State Department,” the brother’s statement reads.