A Moscow court on Tuesday denied bail to a US former Marine who was arrested in Russia on espionage charges last month. Paul Whelan, 48, was taken into custody on December 28 by the Russian FSB security service, who said he was caught “while carrying out an act of espionage”.
“The appeal of the defense (for bail) is not approved,” Judge Dmitry Pronyakin of Lefortovo court told Whelan, who was following proceedings through an interpreter.
Wearing a blue shirt and dark trousers, Whelan appeared in a glass cage at the hearing, as is usual for suspects in custody in Russia.
Ahead of the hearing, lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov said he did not expect his client to be released.
“In Russia as a rule people are kept in custody,” Zherebenkov told reporters outside the court building.
Analysts have speculated that Whelan was arrested to pave the way for a possible spy swap with a Russian agent arrested abroad, possibly Maria Butina.