American national Paul Whelan, charged with espionage in Russia, has been declared competent to stand trial, defense attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told TASS.
"My client underwent a forensic medical examination and was declared competent to stand trial," he said.
The attorney added that the investigation had been extended until May 28. On Friday, Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court will consider extending Whelan’s arrest until that date.
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28, 2018, while on a spy mission. The FSB Investigative Department opened an investigation under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage), which carries a punishment of ten to 20 years in prison.
Whelan, 48, is corporate security director for automotive parts supplier BorgWarner.
According to the Washington Post, he enlisted in the US Marines in 1994 and "rose through the ranks to become a staff sergeant, serving two tours in Iraq, in 2004 and 2006." However, Whelan "was discharged for bad conduct in 2008 after being convicted of several charges related to larceny."