Russia Wants To Exchange Brittney Griner For Arms Trafficker Viktor Bouin In Prisoner Swap

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Russia Wants To Exchange Brittney Griner For Arms Trafficker Viktor Bouin In Prisoner Swap


It’s been months since WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was arrested in a Russian airport, before being detained in Moscow, after Russian customs officials found vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in the basketball star’s luggage.

Unfortunately for Griner, her detention came at the most dangerous moment in U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War, with the U.S. being a leading force in the NATO that is currently supporting Ukraine.

This is also the reason Griner may have to endure a very lengthy and hard punishment. Russian law expert Peter Maggs of the University of Illinois College of Law is predicting her pending legal case could result in a 5- to 10-year prison sentence, including time spent at a labor camp.

Then, earlier this month, the U.S. government revealed that it now considers Griner to be wrongfully detained by the Russian government. This means that the U.S. government will no longer wait for her case to play out through the Russian legal system and will seek to negotiate her return.

So talks with Russia have apparently begun, as they appear to have publicly signaled its asking price for her safe return.

According to reports by various Russian state media outlets, the country is looking to exchange Griner for arms trafficker Viktor Bout in a prisoner swap.

Bout reportedly used his air transport companies to smuggle weapons from Eastern Europe to Africa and the Middle East during the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2011, Bout was convicted by a jury in New York City of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and providing aid to a terrorist organization, and was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment.

The U.S. however is expected to not go through with a one-for-one swap, as there is a major downside to prisoner exchanges. Pentagon official Evelyn Farkas fears, that it cold lead to Americans being seized by Russian law enforcement in order to use them as trade bait.

Per Yahoo!:


“This is the kind of situation that we want to avoid,” said Farkas, the executive director of the McCain Institute, “because the Russians will continue to seize Americans as trade bait if we agree to such swaps.”


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