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April 19, 2023

Free Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, Americans held in Russia | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

Free Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, Americans held in Russia | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
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American Marine veteran, Paul Whelan and American journalist, Evan Gershkovich are both wrongfully imprisoned in Russia. The United States government has classified both men as “wrongfully detained” and has called for their immediate release.

Both Paul and Evan are victims of Russia’s hostage diplomacy. We explain what hostage diplomacy is, the different types of hostage-takers, creation of the U.S. hostage enterprise, Presidential Policy Directive 30, the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act as well as how the U.S. Secretary of State makes the decision to designate an American held abroad as “wrongfully detained”.

We are joined on this episode by Paul Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan. Elizabeth has been campaigning to free her brother for over four years and we discuss what the Whelan family had to do when Paul was first detained including getting a privacy act waiver and power of attorney signed.

We explain clearly that whether the U.S. gives up a concession to free their citizens held in Russia or does nothing at all and leaves them there, the Russians will continue to take more American citizens hostage. The two things that need to be done to put an end to Russia’s hostage diplomacy are to punish the hostage-takers and continuously raise awareness of the risks so Americans stop travelling to Russia. We also discuss the predicament the U.S. government is in because if they punish the hostage-takers right now, Paul and Evan will be made to suffer even more.

Elizabeth tells us what the Russian authorities, U.S. government, corporations, international community, news outlets and public should do to help and she also discusses the lack of equity in how the U.S. government works to free Americans wrongfully detained abroad.

The people campaigning to free Evan Gershkovich will find this episode very informative and useful.

If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube

For more information on Paul Whelan, please check out the following:

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