World- Russia accused a former U.S. Marine it has held for almost a year on spying charges of faking health problems in custody and lying about his ill-treatment to stir up noise around his case.
Paul Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was accused of espionage after agents from Russia's Federal Security Service detained him in a Moscow hotel room on December 28. Whelan, who is being held in pre-trial detention, denies Moscow's allegations and says he was set up in a political sting.
He has alleged at court hearings that he is being subjected to ill treatment in custody and that his complaints are systematically ignored. In October, he said a prison guard had forced him to his knees and threatened him with a gun.
In August, Whelan's lawyer said his client was suffering from a groin hernia that prison authorities were aggravating, prompting the U.S. embassy to demand immediate access to Whelan.
A U.S. diplomat met him last week in jail and called for his immediate release. The U.S. embassy described Whelan's treatment as "shameful", said Moscow had refused permission for an outside doctor to examine him.