Family of Paul Whelan says he was assaulted in Russian prison

The family of a Novi man detained in Russia-- says he was attacked by a fellow prisoner.

Paul Whelan is on the fifth year of a 16-year sentence for espionage-- at a labor camp in Russia.

His family says they took a phone call from Whelan today and he told them he was assaulted while working at a sewing table.

He told them another prisoner reportedly blocked part of the production line -- and after being asked repeatedly to move-- hit Whelan in the face.

The other prisoners then intervened and stopped the attack from escalating.

FOX 2 reached out to the whelan family for comment-- we'll be sure to update you when we learn more.

Russia sentenced Paul Whelan to 16 years in prison on spying charges in 2020. He was first arrested in December of 2018.

His brother said Paul was in Russia to attend a wedding.