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Friday, January 27, 2023

Russia frees American basketball star Brittany Griner in exchange for world’s biggest arms dealer

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Griner has spent the past few months in a labor camp after pleading guilty to possession of several small containers of hashish oil.

Brittany Griner, at a trial in JulyAlexander Zemlyanchenko Associated Press
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Twenty Years Ago, Victor Bout Was The world’s largest arms dealer and a serious obstacle in US-Russia relations, The life of the ‘Merchant of Death’, as he was known, was taken to cinema by Nicolas Cage in the film ‘The Lord of War’ starring Jared Leto. Even after her arrest in Thailand and her subsequent extradition to the United States, relations between Washington and Moscow were strained during the years Hillary Clinton directed US foreign policy in Barack Obama’s first term.

now, The bout was swapped with basketball star Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to 9 years in prison for smuggling hashish into Russia. It’s a sample of how power is shifting in Moscow, and also how, after more than a decade in prison, Bout’s influence for his ability to sell weapons to anyone – whom he ” Nicknamed the “Sanctions Buster”. The government of the world or the guerrilla– has disappeared. A few years ago, Washington would not have considered releasing Bout, who still faces 12 years in prison in the US, for a basketball player, no matter how popular he was.

This is a success for the Joe Biden government. Griner, 32, achieved the status of a national heroine in the United States after she was arrested in Russia in February on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine after that country’s customs officials discovered she was carrying several small containers of oil. Was. Stuff hashes. Griner’s mistake is unforgivable, because Russia is not America and if in the latter country the consumption of hashish and marijuana is legal in 21 out of 50 states, then in the former it is completely illegal. If Griner has anyone to blame, it’s himself.

but, Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, his case soon became purely legal or diplomatic., Plus, Griner is a famous athlete, and America’s attention to the process has skyrocketed. The White House has already tried to switch the bout to Griner and former soldier Paul Whelan, who was sentenced in July to 16 years in prison through 2020 on espionage charges. But, at the last minute, talks with Moscow failed as Moscow only agreed to exchange the Russian for an American.

Now, the Biden administration has done the same with Griner, who has far greater media and political influence than Whelan. The president himself, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Gherelle Watson, appeared before the media to congratulate himself on the basketball player’s release. According to the US President, the settlement ends the months in which the athlete has been “held prisoner in intolerable conditions.” Whelan’s family has congratulated Griner, but regrets that the former soldier remains a “hostage” to Russia.

Griner has spent the past few months in a labor camp called Penal Colony-2, some 500 km southeast of Moscow. It is a harsh prison even by Russian standards. Prisoners have no personal belongings, sleep in 100-bed barracks, and work 17 hours a day. According to the British newspaper ‘The Guardian’, the prison is controlled by the mafia, and is rarely visited by humanitarian organizations due to its isolated location.

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World Nation News Desk
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