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    Marine Corps Veteran Paul Whelan, Held by Russia, Is Spotted at Penal Colony in State TV Video

    Marine Corps Veteran Paul Whelan, Held by Russia, Is Spotted at Penal Colony in State TV Video

    A video of Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan surfaced from Russian-backed state media on Tuesday, showing the American citizen — detained on what the U.S. says are baseless charges — in a penal colony hundreds of miles southeast of .

    Whelan has not been seen publicly in more than three years, according to his family. He was detained in Russia by the Federal Security Service on spying charges in 2018. He denies the charges, but in 2020 was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

    Though the Biden administration considers Whelan “wrongfully detained,” the U.S. has conducted two prisoner swaps with Russia since the of the war in , one of which was for another Marine Corps veteran, Trevor Reed. Whelan was not included in either prisoner swap despite hopes from his family.

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    reported that Russia Today, a state-funded propaganda outlet, arrived at the Moldovian penal colony in May to film Whelan. A propagandist with Russia Today tried to interview the Marine, but he did not participate, garnering retaliation from the penal colony overseers, according to Reuters.

    “Sir, you understand when I say that I can't do an interview, which means I can't answer any questions,” Whelan said in the video. The footage showed him, wearing an all-black prisoner uniform, working a sewing machine alongside other inmates.

    His…

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