WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement on American citizen Paul Whelan’s continued detention and Russia’s denial of his right to consular access and support:

“This week, American citizen Paul Whelan spent his 49th birthday in a Russian prison. It is disgraceful that the Russian government is keeping Mr. Whelan from hiring an attorney, working with U.S. consular officials, and ensuring his family can take care of his affairs. Russia’s treatment of Mr. Whelan reflects a blatant disregard of international law, including the Vienna Convention, which very clearly enumerates the rights of detainees.

“The Russian government does not get to dictate what consular access an American citizen should have. I call on Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation to release Mr. Whelan and end this gross abuse of his rights and Russia’s international obligations.”

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