Brittney Griner’s show trial ends with a 9-year sentence, now the prisoner swap can begin

A Russian court sentenced American basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 and a half years in a penal colony after she was found guilty Thursday of “smuggling” less than one gram of cannabis oil in vaporizer cartridges found in her luggage. Now the United States and Moscow will begin negotiating their release as part of a prisoner exchange. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today that Moscow is “ready to discuss this topic” but warned that the US would do better not to say anything bad about Russia or his country could take him hostage and go home. . Lavrov said the only discussions that matter will take place in a diplomatic deal already agreed upon by US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“There is a special channel that has been agreed upon by the presidents and, whatever anyone says publicly, this channel remains relevant,” he said at a news conference at a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

Lavrov went on to complain that the negotiations could be in trouble if the US became talkative, warning, “If the Americans decide to resort to public diplomacy again and make loud announcements … that’s their business, their problem “. Hey looks nice.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is attending the same meeting as the ASEAN summit, told reporters that the US is already using the correct channel, calm down with the drama Sergey, yes:

“We have, as you know, put forward a substantial proposal on which Russia should engage with us. And what Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning and said publicly is that they are ready to engage through the channels we have established to do just that. And we will pursue it, “Blinken told reporters at a press conference.

But then, Blinken said it publicly, so maybe it doesn’t matter. It didn’t sound that loud so that’s okay. NBC News notes that even though Blinken and Lavrov are both at the Phnom Penh summit, a State Department spokesperson said the two have no plans to meet face-to-face. This is because diplomacy is a very complicated dance that would put arbors to shame. Lavrov and Blinken last spoke on the phone last week.

Griner, the WNBA’s center for Phoenix Mercury, was arrested in late February at a Moscow airport on his way to join the Russian team he plays for in the off-season. The arrest came just days before Russia invaded Ukraine and Griner was essentially treated as a hostage by Putin’s government. In May, the US State Department said it believed Griner was “wrongfully detained” and the US government took steps to have her released.

Griner pleaded guilty to the charges last month, admitting she had the vape cartridges in her luggage but explaining that she had packed her bags quickly and didn’t realize the cartridge was in her bag. She asked the judge to be sympathetic because she had no intention of breaking Russian law. Upon her conviction on Thursday, Griner again asked the court for clemency:

“I made an honest mistake and I hope your sentence doesn’t end my life here,” Griner said in court Thursday before bursting into tears.

“My parents taught me two important things: one, take responsibility for your responsibilities and two, work hard for everything you have. That’s why I pleaded guilty to my charges.”

Griner also said he was aware that his case attracted international attention, but that he hoped the judge would only focus on his lack of criminal intent, saying, “I know everyone keeps talking about ‘political pawn’. and politics, but I hope it is far from this classroom “. It was worth a try, we suppose.

Griner’s lawyers said they intend to appeal the verdict, calling it “absolutely unreasonable”.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, President Biden said in a statement that the United States would take steps to have her released.

Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence which is another reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is holding Brittney unfairly. […]

It is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates.

The US has offered to trade a convicted Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, with Griner and Paul Whelan, another American detained by Russia; Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence on “espionage” charges. So far, Russia has not responded to the proposed exchange of prisoners; Putin may be trying to exploit Griner’s predicament to get one or more convicted Russians out of US custody.

Griner’s supporters – loudly – condemned the Russian verdict and sentence and demanded his release; prior to last night’s WNBA game between the Mercury and the Connecticut Sun, members of both teams joined their arms on the pitch and held a moment of silence – 42 seconds, for his jersey number – which broke into the end as fans chanted “Take her home! Bring her home! ”

But while most Americans recognize the hostage situation for what it is, convicted criminal and professional troll Dinesh D’Souza, who complained that his own guilty plea in an election fraud scheme was political oppression. because look how important it is, explained on Twitter that Griner was simply getting punishment for thinking she was better than everyone else just because she is a left-leaning black lesbian:

I suspect what happened with Brittney Griner is that she became massively licensed in this country: “I’m black, I’m a lesbian, and I’m leftist, so I’m a superior person and basically above the law.” Then she discovered, with her amazement of her, that other countries don’t see it that way!

D’Souza was pardoned by Donald Trump in 2018 for being a true patriot who merely ignored electoral laws because he was helping a friend, and certainly never tried to exploit his privilege beyond reminding the world on every occasion. who went to Dartmouth and is a very successful right-wing producer of fake documentaries and book-shaped lying objects. More recently, D’Souza has supported him the armed uprising against the US government is fine, why was George Washington not an armed insurrectionist?

In short, like a sly has noticed, D’Souza is probably the last person who should ever use “I” and “suspect” in the same sentence, the end.

[NBC News / CNN / Reuters]

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