In this Aug. 23, 2019, file photo, Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine who was arrested for alleged spying in Moscow on Dec. 28, 2018, stands in a cage as he waits for a hearing in a court room in Moscow, Russia. AFP Speaking after the verdict, U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan denounced the secret trial in which no evidence was produced as an egregious violation of human rights and international legal norms. He described Whelan’s conviction as a mockery of justice and demanded his immediate release. (AP) Whelan, who was arrested in Moscow in December 2018, has insisted on his innocence, saying he was set up. The Moscow City Court read out the conviction of Paul Whelan on charges of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in a maximum security prison colony. The trial was held behind closed doors. MOSCOW – A Russian court on Monday sentenced an American businessman to 16 years in prison on spying charges, a sentence that he and his brother rejected as being political.