Former US Marine presently serves jail sentence for espionage in Russia


(MENAFN) Former United States Marine Paul Whelan, currently serving a prison sentence for espionage in Russia, has reportedly been injured in an altercation with a fellow inmate of Turkish origin. The incident occurred at Penal Colony Number 17 in Russia's Mordovia region, where Whelan is serving his sentence. According to the Federal Penitentiary Service, a "personal dispute" escalated into a "conflict situation" in the prison workshop, resulting in Whelan being "struck in the face with a hand."

Correction officers swiftly intervened to break up the fight, and Whelan was taken to the medical wing to receive treatment for "a bruise under an eye." The incident, captured on security cameras, is currently under investigation. While prison authorities provided limited details, sources cited by the Russian news agency Interfax suggested that the assailant, an inmate from Turkey, targeted Whelan due to unspecified "political differences."

In an audio statement reported by CNN, Whelan described the assailant as a 50-year-old Turkish prisoner with "anti-American leanings" who had recently arrived at the prison.

According to Whelan, the inmate assaulted him with a closed fist and attempted to strike him with an open hand. Whelan further claimed that other prisoners eventually intervened to stop the attacker, noting that no guards were present at the factory during the altercation.

Whelan expressed his intention to press charges for the assault and requested to speak with the prosecutor regarding the incident. The circumstances surrounding the altercation raise questions about the safety and security of Whelan, who has been at the center of diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia since his arrest on espionage charges. As investigations unfold, the incident adds a new layer to Whelan's already complex situation within the Russian penal system.

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