MOSCOW, September 8 (RAPSI) — The Supreme Court of Russia’ Republic of Mordovia is to consider a petition for the expulsion of American citizen Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage, to the United States to serve his sentence there, lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov told RAPSI.

Whelan wants to personally attend the hearing, which is expected to be held on September 27 behind closed doors, Zherebenkov said.

Whelan is a citizen of the U.S., Canada, Ireland and Great Britain. He is the chief safety officer of BorgWarner, an American worldwide automotive industry components and parts supplier. The foreigner was arrested in late 2018 during “a spying mission”, according to the Federal Security Service. 

In June 2020, the Moscow City Court convicted Whelan of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years behind bars. The hearing was held behind closed doors. The man is serving his sentence in a penal colony in Russia’s Republic of Mordovia.

The Foreign Ministry of Russia reported that papers classified as state secret were seized from Whelan during his arrest on December 28. His lawyer confirmed this information.

According to Zherebenkov, his client came to Russia in December 2018 to attend the wedding of his acquaintance. He received a flash drive containing culturological information he was interested in, including photos and videos. There were also classified data on the flash drive, the lawyer said, but emphasized that his client did not have a chance to use the flash drive before he was detained.