(RightIsRight.co) – WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced by a Russian court today to nine years in prison for drug smuggling.
With her sentence now imposed, the administration of President Joe Biden is expected to step up its efforts to negotiate a prisoner swap to free Griner.
As National Review assesses what happened:
“American basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Moscow court Thursday after she was convicted of drug smuggling, concluding a multi-month trial that served as another stage for the geopolitical tug-of-war between Russia and the United States.
“Her punishment is a slight reduction from the nine-and-a-half year sentence prosecutors said they were seeking earlier Thursday. Griner’s sentence doesn’t necessarily preclude a prisoner swap, which the Biden administration had been negotiating with the Kremlin in order to secure her and another detainee’s release. The State Department claims Griner was ‘wrongfully detained.'” [emphasis added]
As for a potential prisoner swap:
“Under the conditions of the prisoner swap proposed by the White House, the U.S. would free a convicted Russian arms trafficker, Viktor Bout, in exchange for Griner and another American detainee in Russia, Paul Whelan, CNN reported last week. Russian officials reportedly responded to the deal with a counteroffer, but White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that it exhibited “bad faith” from Moscow.” [emphasis added]
International law experts say that even if there is a prisoner swap, it could take months or even a year to be completed.
What is your reaction to Griner being sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for “drug smuggling”? Do you believe the Biden administration should engage in a prisoner swap to obtain Griner’s freedom? Why or why not? Please share your opinions by emailing [email protected]. Thank you.