Brittney Griner Detained for 9.5 years, US and Russia Talk Trades
By: Calvin Jiang
Brittney Griner, a WNBA star, was sentenced to almost a decade in jail in Russia, because she “smuggled” some cannabis oil (under 1 gram). She was also additionally fined 16,600 USD.
Joe Biden, president of the United States, commented "[t]oday, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It's unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
Biden himself described the detainment of Griner as cruel and inhumane. The Biden administration announced in front of everyone that they are working on discussing a deal involving Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout. Bout has a history of illegal bargaining with Colombia, Al Qaeda, and many more. He conspired to kill a lot of American citizens. To give such a criminal in exchange for 2 citizens with crimes that aren’t even proven real, is a showing of how desperately the Biden administration wants to get back them.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, spoke to the citizens of the US that the government promises to bring back prisoners held in foreign detainment, including Russia. He quoted the deal as “substantial” and a top priority.
Some believe the detainment of Brittney Griner was used as a political pawn to use as a trading piece. Griner reportedly apologized and asked for lenience to the Russia courts: "I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here, I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that, that is far from this courtroom.”