American basketball champion Brittney Griner may be returning home, with the Biden administration offering Russia a “substantial” deal.
The lesbian WNBA star has been in Russian custody since February — only days before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Griner was arrested at Moscow airport on February 17, she had flown to Russia to play in the Russian league during the WNBA’s off-season.
Griner was allegedly carrying 0.7 grams of hashish oil in vape cartridges.
She plead guilty to the charges on July 7 and faces ten years in prison.
‘A substantial deal’
On Wednesday, the US government announced they had offered a “substantial” deal to get Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan freed from Russian detention.
Whelan has been detained by Russia since December 2018 over espionage charges. He continues to deny the charges and has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
“Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner have been wrongly detained, and must be allowed to come home,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
“We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release. Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal.”
While Bliken did not offer specifics, it is believed that the Biden administration offered to exchange Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
In 2012, Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in the United States Penitentiary, Marion. He was charged with plotting to illegally sell weapons worth millions of dollars.
‘My career is my whole life’
In her trial, Brittney Griner testified that she didn’t intend to smuggle drugs into the country.
“I still don’t understand to this day how they ended up in my bags,” said Olympic gold medalist, the AP reports.
“My career is my whole life”
“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.”
She also said that when she was stopped in February at the Sheremetyevo airport that she didn’t fully understand the documents she was forced to sign.
Griner said she used Google translate on some of them before her phone was taken away and she couldn’t use it anymore on other documents.
She testified she had no attorney at the time, and she wasn’t provided information about her rights. CNN reported that under Russian law that should have happened in the three hours after her arrest.
Her attorney, Alexander Boykov said her arrest was “improper.”
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