A former U.S. Marine being held in a Russian prison on espionage allegations has declined surgery for a chronically painful medical condition.
Paul Whelan, an American businessman who has been jailed in Moscow's Lefortovo prison since December, had been scheduled to have surgery on a preexisting inguinal hernia upon returning to United States earlier this year.
A frequent visitor to Russia, Whelan was detained in central Moscow's Metropol Hotel on Dec. 28 and accused of carrying Russian state secrets on a flash drive given to him by an unnamed person.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and Whelan's family have long objected to his detention, insisting that the charges against him are false and that he has been repeatedly denied requests for medical care and communication with family.
Moscow officials have denied for months that Whelan had any medical conditions, but on Aug. 23, an ambulance was called to a Moscow courtroom after Whelan said he had been injured by a prison guard who forced him to move heavy personal belongings to a new cell.
The judge immediately halted courtroom proceedings for a medical evaluation by paramedics before ruling that his pretrial detention should be extended until Oct. 29.
According to Whelan's attorney, Vladimir Zherebenkov, the 49-year-old Michigan native was examined by doctors at Moscow's Hospital #20 on Sept. 6, who confirmed he was suffering from a hernia that required surgery.
Source : VOA