David Whelan, the brother of imprisoned U.S. Marines veteran Paul Whelan, told Newsmax that he was "devastated" to learn Paul was not a part of the recent U.S.-Russian prisoner exchange.
In a Thursday appearance on "Prime News," David Whelan said the Biden administration has worked with his family "to bring all Americans home" hours after WNBA star Brittney Griner was swapped for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.
"There are American citizens being held in many countries," Whelan noted, citing "Majd Kamalmaz in Syria and Siamak Namazi in Iran." However, he's "confident" President Joe Biden "will continue to work on Paul's case."
Whelan further stated that he held no grudges against the media for focusing on Griner amid a slew of criticism, insisting that they "had media attention when we needed it" back in early 2019, soon after his brother was detained.
"I think that the U.S. government engagement over the last two to three years, especially, has been significant for wrongful detainees," he stated. "So, ... I think Paul's in as good a position as he can be. And unfortunately, it's not all about the U.S. government making all the decisions. At some point, Russia gets a vote, and they voted 'no' on Paul."
But as the country sees more citizens detained overseas, Whelan suggested that the U.S. should prepare a "plan" to get Americans home more quickly.
The U.S. might need to "look and see ... if there are Russian nationals who are tied to the Kremlin, who are committing crimes outside of Russia," he said.
Paul Whelan is currently serving a 16-year sentence for allegedly spying against Moscow, according to USA Today.
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