The Moscow City Court on Thursday dismissed suspected US spy Paul Whelan’s appeal against the extension of his custody until 28 May 2019.

“I absolutely disagree with the decision. I think it is illegal and ungrounded. We will appeal against it,” Paul Whelan’s lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov said.

The court hearing was closed to the public as the case involves classified information.

According to the Russian Security Service (FSB), Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28 as he was caught red-handed while "carrying out spying activities."

If found guilty of espionage, Whelan faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to Whelan's family, the former marine was in Moscow for a friend’s wedding. The American also holds British, Irish and Canadian nationality.

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