A former American Marine asked President Donald Trump for help Thursday after the Russian government accused him of spying.
Paul Whelan, who was discharged from the Marine Corps after reported misconduct, was arrested in Moscow in December 2018 and charged with espionage. If convicted, he could spend up to 20 years in prison, The Associated Press reported.
“Mr. President, we cannot keep America great unless we aggressively protect American citizens wherever they are in the world,” Whelan said, according to the AP.
Whelan, who has British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, pleaded for other countries to help him get out of prison as well.
“I’m asking government leaders, authorities — Ottawa, Dublin, London and Washington — to help and express public support,” he said, according to CBS News.
Some have speculated this is a Russian ploy to get America to agree to a prisoner swap. Whelan has denied all charges and complained about the conditions in Russian prison. (RELATED: American Man Being Held In Russia On Charges Of Espionage)
“I have been threatened,” Whelan said. “There are abuses and harassment that I am constantly subject to. There is a case for isolation. I have not had a shower in two weeks, I can’t use a barber I have to cut my own hair. I can’t have medical treatment, I can’t have dental treatment … They are trying to run me down so that I will talk to them.”
Prison officials were also not permitting human rights advocates to see Whelan in prison, according to U.S. Embassy spokesperson Andrea Kalan.
#PaulWhelan says investigators have threatened him. Yet officials at Lefortovo block human rights defenders from communicating with him about these threats. What are investigators hiding?
— Andrea Kalan (@USEmbRuPress) June 5, 2019
Whelan was found in his Moscow hotel with a flash drive that allegedly had Russian “state secrets” on it, CBS News reported.
His lawyer said when he receive the flash drive, he had no idea it included such information.
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