Family of man detained in Russia asks US government for help

MOSCOW (AP) -- The twin brother of the American man being held in Moscow on alleged spying charges is urging the U.S. government to help get his brother released.

David Whelan issued a family statement on Friday on behalf of his brother, Paul Whelan, saying that the family was "very pleased to know that staff of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow have been given consular access to Paul and confirmed that he is safe."

Related: Russia detains US citizen on suspicion of spying

He says the family's "focus remains on ensuring that Paul is safe, well treated, has a good lawyer, and is coming home."

He urged the U.S. Congress and the State Department to help get his brother freed.

Russian media say Whelan has been formally indicted for spying and could face up to 20 years in prison. The Interfax news agency says he has denied the allegation.

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