*RESENDING VIDEO AND SCRIPT ADDING BITE WITH U.S. AMBASSADOR* Russia sentenced former U.S. marine Paul Whelan to 16 years in jail on Monday (June 15).
He was found guilty of spying for the United States.
Whelan has been in custody since he was detained by Russian authorities in a Moscow hotel room in December 2018.
Moscow said the 50-year-old was caught with a computer flash drive holding classified information.
Whelan pleaded not guilty and said he was set-up in a sting.
He claimed the drive was given to him by a Russian acquaintance and he thought it contained holiday photos.
Russian prosecutors accused Whelan of being at least a ranking U.S. military intelligence colonel.
U.S. diplomats called Whelan's trial unfair, and warned his sentencing would harm relations between the two countries.
U.S. ambassador to Russia John Sullivan.
"It's a mockery of justice, I can't say I'm surprised.
This is the direction this case has been heading from the beginning.
But it won't lessen my commitment to continue to work for Paul's release, to demand Paul's release.
And I hope all the fair-minded citizens here in Russia and around the world would have the same reaction to this, because if they can do it to Paul, they can do it to anyone." The U.S. has repeatedly said there is no evidence against Whelan.
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Russian court sentences former US marine Paul Whelan to 16 years in prison for espionage
Credit: euronews (in English) Duration: 01:38Published
Russia sentences ex-US marine to 16 years in prison for espionage
Credit: Al Jazeera STUDIO Duration: 02:16Published
U.S. ambassador slams Russia Whelan verdict
Credit: Reuters Studio Duration: 00:50Published
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