What happens next for the WNBA star?
Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison – but that’s to be expected. Here’s what could happen next for the WNBA star.
“Disheartening but expected verdict.”
This is how ESPN investigative reporter TJ Quinn described Brittney Griners nine-year Russian prison sentencewhich was announced on August 4th.
Quinn emphasizes that while this was upsetting for Griner and her supporters, it wasn’t a shocking development for her months imprisonment by Russian authorities. Have international legal experts long awaited that Griner’s situation would be resolved diplomatically, and recently the United States has openly made headway in this regard offer a prisoner swap He traded Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan, who was also imprisoned, for Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer.
As Griner’s fate is shifted to the diplomatic world, here’s what those following the case can expect as it unfolds.
What WNBA fans can expect after Brittney Griner is sentenced to nine years in Russian prison
Before the verdict came, Griner made an emotional appeal to the courtroom, via CNN:
“I never wanted to hurt anyone, I never wanted to endanger the Russian people, I never wanted to break any laws here. I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your decision it doesn’t end my life here. I know everyone talks about political pawns and politics, but I hope that’s far from this courtroom.
I want to say again that I had no intention of breaking any Russian laws. I had no intention. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”
Though Griner hoped politics would stay out of the courtroom, international legal experts have expected it from the start. Griner’s charges carried a possible 10-year prison sentence, even though Griner was carrying less than a gram of cannabis oil, which she repeatedly claimed accidentally packedGriner’s status as one of the WNBA’s biggest stars meant her attachment was always strong.
With so much attention on Griner’s case, and with professional athletes and American citizens constantly pressuring the White House to negotiate her release, Griner’s situation became a prime opportunity for Russia to negotiate something they wanted: the Repatriation of Viktor Bout.
Nicknamed the “Dealer of Death,” Bout spent two decades selling arms to warlords, rebel groups, and rogue states around the world Reuters. He was arrested in 2008 and is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.
Although other Americans like Whelan are also being sentenced to egregious Russian prison terms — many of which the United States considers to be “unlawful detention” — no one reasonably expects Griner to serve out her entire nine-year sentence. Arresting Griner and pushing for a nine-year sentence is seen as part of a Russian strategy to pressure the United States to release Bout. So far it’s working: The White House has already confirmed that they are considering a swap with Bout, a fact that worries those familiar with his war crimes.
“You can’t imagine how emotionally I struggled with the idea of Bout’s release,” he said Kathy Austinone of the people who helped put Bout in jail.
“Putin knew very well what he was doing, making Brittney Griner a bargaining chip… In a post-publication situation… Putin will surely arm Bout in areas of the world where the ‘dealer of death’ has a proven track record,” she continued.
Even if Viktor Bout’s release carries the risk that Vladmir Putin will weaponize him in Russian conflicts around the world – including this one continued occupation of Ukraine – The United States has made it clear that it will do whatever it takes to get Brittney Griner back.
Unfortunately, Griner and her loved ones find themselves in the crosshairs of foreign policy that could have devastating and far-reaching ramifications. The United States is expected to continue to press for the release of Griner and Whelan, but when that exchange will take place and what it will look like remains to be seen.
https://fansided.com/2022/08/04/brittney-griner-prison-next-wnba/ What happens next for the WNBA star?