MOSCOW, September 14 (RAPSI) — The Supreme Court of Russia’ Republic of Mordovia forwarded a request of an American citizen Paul Whelan, sentenced to 16 years in jail for espionage, to the Justice Ministry, the press service of the court told RAPSI.

The request was forwarded to the Justice Ministry with the aim to collect the necessary information in accordance with the provisions of an international treaty, as well as to preliminary agree on the issue of transferring the convict with the competent authorities of the United States, the statement reads.

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.

Whelan 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 in December 2018.

Whelan's Russian lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said that 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 arrested.