American sentenced to 16 years in Russia on spying charges

MOSCOW (AP) — An American has been sentenced to 16 years in prison by a Russian court on spying charges. The Moscow City Court on Monday convicted Paul Whelan on charges of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in maximum security prison colony. Whelan has insisted on his innocence, saying he was set up. The U.S. Embassy has denounced Whelan’s trial as unfair, pointing that no evidence has been provided. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced Whelan’s treatment by Russian authorities as “appalling.” His brother David said lawyers will appeal the verdict. Whelan’s Russian lawyer said he could be exchanged for Russians in U.S. custody.