To Free Basketball Player Detained in Russia, US Government Proposes Prisoner Exchange | World

The United States government has proposed a prisoner exchange with Russia: the Americans want to receive basketball player Brittney Griner and ex-military Paul Whelan and propose to release a Russian convicted of arms trafficking and serving a 25-year sentence. years in the USA.

  • American basketball player pleads guilty to drug possession charge in Russia
  • Basketball player Brittney Griner arrested in Russia on drug trafficking charges

Brittney Griner testifies in Russian court

Brittney Griner testifies in Russian court

A US government official said he made the proposal based on talks with the Russians.

Griner said at his trial that he had no intention of introducing drugs into Russia. “I didn’t think or plan to introduce banned substances into Russia,” said Griner, who was arrested at a Moscow airport in February.

Her case is being considered in a court in the town of Khimki, outside Moscow.

She said she had no plans to violate Russian laws and had no intention of using a substance banned in the country. “I wouldn’t do anything to harm my team,” she said.

Brittney Griner during a Russian court session, July 7, 2022 — Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/REUTERS

Griner pleaded guilty and faces up to ten years in prison in Russia. The athlete said she had permission from an American doctor to use medical cannabis to relieve pain related to various injuries. “I was in a wheelchair for four months, I sprained my ankle,” she said.

She stated that she only used medical cannabis when there was no competition, and that she didn’t want to use other pain relievers because they have “very bad side effects”.

The athlete was arrested when she arrived in Moscow to play for a Russian club. It is common for American league players to also play for Russian teams in between US tournament seasons.

Griner further explained that he traveled to Russia despite US officials having recommended that he not travel to the country.

“My career is my life. I dedicated everything, my body and a lot of time away from my family. I played with injuries. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my career”, he said.

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