A Moscow city court in Russia handed the United States citizen Paul Wilan to 16-years prison sentence, having found him guilty of spying. This was reported by a Radio Svoboda Russian service correspondent from the courtroom.

In his last words, Wilan declared his blameless. He and his defence insisted on the acquitting sentence.

At a court hearing on May 25, the prosecution demanded Wilan an 18-years most security prison sentence. This is almost the maximum possible duration – Russian legislation calls for a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

The hearing of Wilan’s case essentially began on April 20. According to his lawyer, Volodymyr Zherebenkov, defence witnesses – about 10 people – said in court that the American did not recruit anyone and did not collect classified information. According to the lawyer, the defence provided the court with the evidence that “there are the signs of the crime provocation by a person, who had initiated this.”

Wilan denies the allegations and says the case is fabricated. The American’s family said he had visited Moscow at a wedding invitation during his arrest. U.S. officials have called on Moscow to release Wilan and criticized the Russian government for “shameful treatment.”

Paul Wilan was arrested in a hotel room in Moscow in December 2018, he was accused of classified information acquisition, the maximum term of imprisonment on these charges amounts to 20 years.

Natalia Tolub

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