Days Later: Brittney Griner’s release through prisoner swap causes controversy

Thursday’s release of basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for a convicted Russian arms dealer has caused many to question whether the move was to the United States’ benefit.

While many people have celebrated Griner’s release, others have questioned if swapping a WNBA player for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death,” was a fair trade.

According to the Washington Post, Griner was arrested by Russian authorities for “possessing a small amount of cannabis oil.” Bout, on the other hand, was sentenced for fueling armed conflicts in several countries – enough to earn him a 25-year sentence in federal prison.

Others have also criticized the Biden administration for choosing to release Grinder over Marine veteran Paul Whelan, who is currently jailed in Russia on charges of espionage. Some have said that the Biden administration could have returned both Americans back home.

However, the Biden administration have said that Russia was very uncooperative in the negotiations for Griner’s release, and refused to release more than one prisoner, Fox News reported.

“The Russians and other regimes that take American citizens hostage cannot pretend that there is equivalence between the Brittney Griners of the world and people like Viktor Bout, the so-called ‘Merchant of Death,'” Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said of the prisoner swap.

He added, “We must stop inviting dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans overseas as bargaining chips.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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