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MOSCOW (AP) — An American on trial for alleged espionage in Russia has undergone emergency surgery.

Paul Whelan, who was arrested in Moscow in December 2018, had the surgery on Thursday, according to the US Embassy and the Russian Foreign Ministry. Whelan’s brother David said in a statement that the surgery was for a hernia.

Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross said on Twitter that “Russian authorities waited until (Whelan’s) condition was life-threatening to provide him medical attention” and said he had repeatedly been denied an English-speaking doctor. The foreign ministry however said Whelan had previously refused treatment.

The verdict and sentencing in Whelan’s case is expected in June. Whelan, who claims he was set up, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.