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American Held In Russia On Spying Charge Gets Visit From Diplomats

Paul Whelan's brother says he has been visited by diplomats in the Moscow prison where he is being held.

The brother of the American man being held in Russia on an espionage charge says Irish diplomats have visited him in the Moscow prison where he is being held.

David Whelan said in a statement released on January 16 that the diplomats reported that conditions are good in the prison where his brother Paul is.

The statement said U.S. officials are expected to visit him on January 17.

A former U.S. Marine who holds citizenship in Ireland, Canada, Britain, and the United States, Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28 and charged with spying.

The charge carries a potential sentence of 20 years if convicted.

Russian officials have not released details of the allegations against him.

Whelan was working as a global security director for a U.S. auto-parts manufacturer at the time of his arrest.

Whelan's Russian lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenko, has said his client is innocent.

But he also suggested Russian officials might consider exchanging him for Maria Butina, a Russian woman who pleaded guilty last month to U.S. charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman visited Whelan in prison on January 2.

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