A retired U.S. Marine detained by Russia on spying charges was visiting Moscow for a wedding and is innocent, his family said on Tuesday.
Paul Whelan had been staying with a wedding party for a fellow former Marine at the Metropol hotel in Moscow, said his brother David Whelan, who learned of the arrest on Monday.
“His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected,” Whelan’s family said in a statement released on Twitter on Tuesday.
Russia’s FSB state security service said the American had been detained on Friday, but it gave no details of the nature of his alleged espionage activities. Under Russian law, espionage can carry a prison sentence of between 10 and 20 years.