It has been 160 days since Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained in Russia (the US government declared that officially in May). Per the AP, the US has now offered a deal to Russia for the release of BG, who has been held in a Russian prison for charges on possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
The Associated Press reports that “Russia has for years expressed interest in the release” of Viktor Bout, an arms dealer who was sentenced to 25 years prison time in 2012 on charges of scheming to illegally sell weapons for millions of dollars in profit. Griner could be facing up to 10 years if she is convicted.
The US is also reportedly trying to bring home former Marine Paul Whalen, who was arrested in Russia in December 2018.
Blinken has not offered any details about the proposal, but has “requested a call” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. US officials state that the “desire for an answer on the prisoner offer was the primary, but not only, reason that the U.S. on Wednesday requested the call with Lavrov,” writes the AP.
Griner recently testified for the first time in her trial and has revealed that an interpreter translated only a portion of what was said while she was detained in Moscow and that she had to use a translation app on her cell phone to communicate with a customs officer. She also says that officials told her to sign documents, but that “no one explained any of it to me,” and that she received no explanation of her rights or access to a lawyer during the initial hours of her detention.
The U.S. government and Biden administration have faced mounting pressure from the players around the WNBA and NBA to bring BG home.
“My career is my whole life,” Griner said in her trial. “I dedicated everything — time, my body, time away from my family. I spent six months out of the year away from everybody, and with a huge time difference.”
It’s time to bring BG home.