Russia ready to discuss prisoner swap for Brittney Griner

2022-08-05 19:37
Credit: AFP-SCANPIX
Credit AFP-SCANPIX

With WNBA superstar Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in a Russian jail, the US administration is looking for ways to bring the athlete back.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov both attended a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia today but did not engage in a conversation about Griner, reports state.

"We are ready to discuss this topic but within the framework of the channel that was agreed upon by presidents Putin and Biden," Lavrov said following the meeting. "If the Americans decide to once again resort to public diplomacy … that is their business and I would even say that it is their problem."

Brittney Griner

Brittney  Griner
Position: C
Age: 31
Height: 206 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Birth place: Houston, United States of America

A week ago, Secretary Blinken publicly announced about a possible prisoner swap for Griner which received a negative response from the Russian side, stating that such matters should not be discussed in public as it only worsens the US position in negotiations.

"Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It's unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately," said US President Joe Biden said in a statement yesterday.

Griner was sentenced to 9 years by a Russian court on Thursday for smuggling hashish oil. However, the real length of detention might be however long it takes to reach a deal between the United States and Russia. WNBA player was also fined 1 million rubles, equivalent to roughly $16,500.

According to local law experts, Griner has three options now - a prisoner swap, an appeal against the verdict, and a petition for a pardon after the verdict comes into force. Griner's lawyer Maria Blagovolina told Russian news agency Ria Novosti that the defense plans to file an appeal.



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