Moscow, Jun 14 (AP) The family of Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on a disputed espionage conviction, has released a statement from him calling for President Joe Biden to push for his release during the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an audio file distributed by Whelan's family on Monday, he says: “I implore you to bring this appalling case of hostage diplomacy to an end. I remain innocent. No crime of espionage occurred. The secret trial, without evidence, proves those facts.”

He made the statement in a May 30 telephone call with his parents, the family said. Whelan was arrested in Moscow in December 2018 and later sentenced to 16 years in prison. He claims he was in Russia only as a visitor. (AP)

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