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Is there new hope for Brittney Griner?

Is there new hope for Brittney Griner?

Is there new hope for Brittney Griner?
Image: Getty Images

It seems Russia’s hardline obsession with punishing drug offenders has its restrict in any case. On Wednesday morning, Russia launched a U.S. citizen and former marine, Trevor Reed, as a part of prisoner alternate. In July 2020, Reed was sentenced to almost 9 years in jail following an altercation with Russian cops.

While Brittney Griner’s omission from the information of a prisoner alternate could sound disappointing for supporters of hers, it’s not all dangerous. It supplies a glimmer of hope. The federal authorities’s monetary sanctions towards Russia’s economic system and American firms pulling in another country beforehand advised that diplomatic home windows had been slammed shut with Griner caught on the opposite aspect. Reed’s launch illustrates that Russia continues to be down for some quid professional quo motion.

Russia didn’t hand over Reed as an act of kindness. In alternate for Reed, the U.S. swapped out Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted of smuggling massive batches of cocaine in 2011 and sentenced to twenty years in jail.

These varieties of exchanges had been routinely completed in the course of the Cold War, however for a commerce to happen at a time when tensions between Russia and the western world are so excessive, it might sign to Griner’s household — and legal professionals — to maintain up the full-court press on the Biden administration to safe her return.

Like Griner, the excessive profile of Reed, a former Marine, successfully made him a political prisoner since his arrest in 2018. Griner’s identification within the public eye as a towering Black-American, lesbian skilled athlete made her a straightforward goal for Moscow. Two years in the past, Vladimir Zherebenkov, the lawyer for 50-year-old marine Paul Whelan, recognized a minimum of two prisoners whom the Russian authorities could be occupied with exchanging. One was Yaroshenko, who was traded for Reed, and one other was Viktor Bout. Bout was the inspiration for Nicholas Cage’s gun-running character in Lord of War.

Ultimately, Russia extracted a prisoner of worth out of the United States, however the price of exchanging a couple of Russians convicted of non-violent crimes who’ve extra worth as belongings in alternate for political prisoners is minimal. The Biden administration ought to be providing Bout and another Russians they’re prepared to launch for Griner and Whelan. Our prisons are overflowing anyhow.

Russia’s willingness to take a drug smuggler is a constructive for Griner, who’s at the moment going through drug-related fees. The crime she’s accused of — bringing a marijuana vape pen on her flight — is way much less extreme compared to those that resulted within the prolonged sentences for Whelan and Reed.

Griner is going through a May 18 court docket date and the U.S. State Department has suggested the WNBA and Griner’s household to maintain negotiations of a possible launch hushed in hopes that the Kremlin doesn’t cool the method in a present of political grandstanding. When U.S. and Russian governments are prepared to make a swap, they’ve proven the power to expedite exchanges. It took two years to execute the Reed-Yaroshenko alternate, however Russia has been signaling its requests because the Trump administration. Where there’s a will, there’s a approach. The path to securing Griner’s freedom received’t be easy, however an eagerness for a deal to be completed affords a glimmer of hope.

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