US Ambassador John Sullivan was not allowed to attend the court hearing in the case of Paul Whelan due to restrictions in force in Moscow, as well as due to the secrecy of the case. This was reported to Izvestia on April 13 in the press service of the Moscow city court.
“The entrance to the courthouse in Moscow is restricted according to the requirements that currently exist .we have information about the access regime on the court’s website. Only participants in trials are allowed to enter the courthouse. Mr. Ambassador is not such due to the requirements of the criminal procedure code of the Russian Federation, ” the Moscow city court said.
Since the case is classified as secret, the meeting is held in closed mode, so no one can be there, except for direct participants in the process, the press service stressed.
Earlier on Monday, Sullivan said that he was not allowed to attend a court hearing in the case of an American citizen accused of spying in Russia, Paul Whelan. The Ambassador called the closed nature of the proceedings “unfair”, Interfax reports.
Whelan was detained while conducting a spy campaign on December 28, 2018. A criminal case was opened against him under article 276 of the criminal code of the Russian Federation (“Espionage”), which provides for a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.
On December 24, 2019, the Moscow city court extended the term of the accused’s arrest until March 29. The meeting was held in closed mode due to the secrecy of the case. The investigation was finally completed only in February 2020, and two weeks later, the Russian Prosecutor General’s office finally approved the charges against Whelan.
On March 27, it was reported that the Moscow city court postponed the trial against Whelan from March 30 to April 13.