Is this man a hostage of Russia or a spy? – BBC News

The British family of a man accused of spying in Moscow has called on the UK government to do more to secure his release. Paul Whelan, who also has US, Irish and Canadian citizenship, has claimed he was set up by a friend, working for Russian intelligence.

He was arrested in December – when Russia claims he was caught “red handed” with state secrets. But almost ten months on, Mr Whelan’s lawyers say they’ve seen no evidence of that.

A foreign office spokesperson told the BBC: “We have supported Mr Whelan and his family throughout his detention in Moscow, visiting him to check his welfare and attending his appearances in court. We continue to raise our concerns about his treatment with the Russian authorities, who must respect Mr Whelan’s human rights, in line with their international obligations.”

BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford reports.

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