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High hopes for Michigan man imprisoned in Russia to be released

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Courtesy of David Whelan
Paul Whelan, courtesy of David Whelan

The family of a Michigan man imprisoned in Russia say they have “complete faith” that the federal government is doing everything possible to free him.

A member of Paul Whelan’s family met with President Biden days ago. Whelan is serving a 16 year prison sentence for espionage.

U.S. officials say both Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is in a Russian prison for drug-related charges, are being wrongfully detained.

The U.S. offered a prisoner exchange for the two Americans but officials say Russia has not responded.

Federal officials in the past veered away from prisoner swaps believing it encouraged countries to take hostages.

But the U.S. has just exchanged a notorious Taliban drug kingpin for an American contractor held in Afghanistan.

Quinn Klinefelter is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, anchoring midday newscasts and preparing reports for WDET, NPR and the BBC. Klinefelter joined WDET in 1998 after earning a M.A. from the nation’s top-ranked journalism school, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and working as a sports correspondent for BBC Radio 4 and as a talk show host, anchor and reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio.