Russia’s war in Ukraine started in February of this year and it’s been a disaster. But that’s not the only point of tension between Moscow and Washington.
Another issue which is making things worse is that Russia is holding an American in jail.
The American is question is Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Brittney Griner, who was arrested February 17 at Moscow airport for having cannabis vapes in her bag.
A week later Russia rolled into Ukraine and Griner’s case faded in people’s attention. But it’s still going on, and it just took a big turn for the worse.
Griner Sentenced To 9 Years in Russian Prison Camp
American authorities were permitted to talk to Griner for the first time since this summer. She’s been in jail since February after being arrested when arriving in Russia for a game.
Griner says she is permitted medical marijuana for injuries and that she’d forgotten not to bring the vapes. Cannabis possession is highly illegal in Russia, and attempts to argue that it had been medicinal were denied by Russian authorities once in the summer and again last month.
Now Griner has been hit with a 9 year prison term in a Russian penal camp. This is the stuff of nightmares, and her family and friends are desperate for some kind of solution.
This Brittney Griner situation is so heartbreaking. 9 years in a Russian prison camp for a vape. Shit.
— Somebody’s Fine Mama 💋🏾 (@BombshellCole) November 9, 2022
One option for rescuing Griner from this nightmare is to trade her for prisoners. Russia wants back one of their worst criminals, a man by the name of Viktor Bout who’s known as the “Merchant of Death.”
Bout, an international arms dealer from Russia, is serving a prison sentence in Connecticut. His release could result in Griner getting sent back to the United States, but it’s not exactly an equal trade.
Griner shoots baskets, Bout helps child soldiers shoot families.
Is some kind of prisoner swap now being negotiated? It’s possible, and talk of meetings between National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Russian counterparts could include talk of Griner’s plight.
As of now, however, Griner is in a prison camp somewhere in Russia whose location isn’t even being released.
This sounds like something from a horror film, but it’s very much happening in real time under the eyes of the Biden-Harris regime and their incompetence.
JUST IN: #BNNUS Reports
Brittney Griner (@brittneygriner) has been transferred to a Russian forced labor camp after being arrested in Russia for allegedly possessing cannabis oil months ago.
Griner's appeal against her 9-year prison sentence was also denied by a Russian court. pic.twitter.com/ej1cjy84yB
— Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) November 9, 2022
This is Really Bad
Griner knew Russia’s rules and had already played there in the past during off season from the WNBA. She knew they don’t mess around, and maybe it’s actually true that she packed the vape by mistake.
But Russia is not going to be going easy on her, and there’s no doubt that her ethnicity and gender will also be objects of abuse from racist and aggressive Russian prison guards.
This is a very bad situation and despite Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying US authorities will continue to demand the right to speak with Griner, this is not going to be easy to resolve.
Russian work camps are brutal and full of things like sleep deprivation torture, minimal food and beatings.
This article appeared in FreshOffThePress and has been published here with permission.