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August 13, 2022 12:31 pm

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U.S. Offers Prisoner Swap to Free Britney Griner from Russia


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The Biden administration has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, ex-US marine Paul Whelan, The Guardian reports. Griner, who was arrested on drug-related charges at a Moscow airport in February and testified on Wednesday at her trial, could be traded for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer once labeled the “Merchant of Death,” who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012 on charges that he schemed to illegally sell millions of dollars in weapons.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had requested a call with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, with the desire for an answer on the prisoner offer being the primary, but not only, reason that the US requested the call. At her trial on Wednesday, Griner said she did not know how the cannabis oil ended up in her bag but explained she had a doctor’s recommendation for it and had packed in haste. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of transporting drugs.