defense of Brittney Griner he asked for the sentence to be reduced or for acquittal. This Tuesday the 25th, however, the court of the Moscow region determined that the outstanding athlete must pay 9 years in prison for drug possession and smuggling. The sentence has been questioned for appearing to be a reprisal from Russia to the sanctions imposed by the United States after the invasion of Ukraine.
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Griner, a two-time Olympic gold-winning basketball player with the USA, traveled in February to play for the Yekaterinburg. At the airport, she was stopped by “carrying vape cartridges with a small amount of cannabis oil”, recalls the AFP agency. Hence, in August, she was sentenced to new years in prison.
She pleaded guilty, but asked for a proportional penalty, because the possession responded to a medical treatment. According to his lawyers, Griner did not expect “miracles”, but they did listen and give importance to their arguments. However, his appeal was discussed and dismissed.
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The government of USA He did not sit idly by in recent months. The EFE agency recalls that the Secretary of State Antony Blinkenargued with his Russian peer, Sergei Lavrovthe possibility of a prisoner exchange. In addition to Griner, it is also about repatriating Paul Whelan, ex-marine accused of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison. In exchange, they would release Victor Butbetter known as the ‘merchant of death’, a figure who came to the cinema incarnated by Nicolas Cage.
In response, Russia requested that he also be released Vadim Krasikov“former colonel of the internal espionage agency”. CNN notes that “Krasikov was found guilty in December of murdering a former Chechen fighter, Zelimkhan ‘Tornike’ Khangoshvili, in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten in 2019 and was sentenced to life in prison.”.
This matter, says the Argentinian analyst based in the United States Hernán Molinaputs the Government of the President Joe Biden. “That is what Vladimir Putin wants.”.
He is not the only one celebrating: some republicans They also take the opportunity to increase criticism against the democrats with a view to the mid-term elections. “There are many who believe that Biden is not handling the war well. And while the children of Donald Trump, Eric and Donald Jr.they say that their father would have prevented the conflict, other party members question that millions of dollars continue to be invested in a war that has no end”.
If the exchange does not take place, adds the specialist, it may be because Russia it’s not convenient for him. The results in the war are not favorable to them, there are economic problems Y politiciansso they better not drop that card.
In any case, what has become clear is that the US prefers pragmatism when exchanging prisoners. For example, even before the energy crisisthe possibility of negotiating with Venezuela. “But, right now, negotiating with Nicholas Maduro It is the lesser of evils if it is possible to sustain the economy and cut off dependence on Putin.”.
Griner’s case, however, is more complex. Molina adds: “It is difficult to negotiate with someone who changes the terms all the time. I don’t think that Putin’s people negotiate in good faith, otherwise this would have already been resolved”.
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Several prisoner exchanges have been taking place in the midst of the war. In April, for example, the former US Marine imprisoned since 2019, Trevor Reedwas delivered by Moscow in exchange for Washington free to Konstantin Yaroshenkopilot who lived in prison since 2010.
In September, Ukraine Y Russia they made “the largest prisoner exchange” since the invasion began. “El País” recalls that 215 Ukrainians -”including 10 foreigners and members of the Azov battalion”- were released in exchange for “several detainees”, among which stood out Viktor Medvedchuk“well-known pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch and Putin ally”.
How did the prisoner exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union work? AFP remembers that they did “often in the middle of the night fog, in the Glienicke Bridge of divided Berlin, a place nicknamed as ‘The bridge of spies’”.
One of the most famous to cross the bridge was “soviet dissident leader Nathan Sharansky”, who was returned “in exchange for a CIA ‘mole’ from the old Czechoslovakia”.
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But the first time an exchange between those powers took place during the Cold War was on February 10, 1962. With the Glienicke Bridge as the setting, “Gary Powers Y Rudolf Abel They did not know each other and they crossed paths without saying a word”. Powers was an American aviation pilot who, after being shot down in May 1960, was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison. Abel performed as a spy Soviet, for which he was detained in brooklyn on June 21, 1957.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.