Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Russia frees US basketball star in swap with arms dealer

Posted by on 2022/12/09. Filed under Breaking News,Headline News,International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Russia released jailed U.S. women’s basketball star Brittney Griner Thursday swap with arms dealer Victor Bout, who had been held in a U.S. prison for 12 years. Britain’s Guardian newspaper called it “a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange.”

Reuters reported that US President Joe Biden told a White House news conference that Griner was “safe” after months of “hellish” and “unjustified” and “intolerable” detention in Russia. “She’s on a plane… On the way home.” We have been working for this day for a long time and have never stopped demanding her release.

The prisoner swap comes after months of negotiations between the two sides, amid rising tensions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Live television footage showed Bout arriving in Moscow, hugging his mother and wife, just as Grena was boarding a flight to Texas.

Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the greatest players in WNBA history. In February, she was detained on a flight to Moscow on drug smuggling charges; He was formally convicted in August and sentenced to nine years in prison, attracting unprecedented public attention.

Moreover, as an openly gay black woman, Griner’s incarceration in a country where the authorities are hostile to the LBGTQ+ community has worried the U.S. government and her supporters. The case has also become an important turning point in more strained relations between the United States and Russia.

The prisoner released in exchange is former Soviet lieutenant Colonel Bout, who the U.S. Justice Department once called one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States for conspiring to sell tens of millions of dollars in weapons. U.S. officials say the weapons will be used against Americans.

But Mr. Biden admitted to having one big regret about the swap. In late 2018, Russia jailed Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive in Michigan, on espionage charges. He has not been released, and his family and the U.S. government have denied the charges.

“Sadly, for entirely illegitimate reasons, Russia handled the Whelan case differently than Griner’s case,” Biden told reporters, according to the Guardian. Although we have not succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we will not give up. We will never give up.”

comments powered by Disqus