WATCH: “Gut-Wrenching” – Britney Griner Sister on Baylor Star’s Russian Imprisonment
For friends and family of Brittney Griner, the Baylor legend and WNBA superstar is not a political pawn used by Russia, which jailed her for allegedly being caught carrying vape cartridges with marijuana oil.
She’s a wife, a daughter, a sister.
“I haven’t seen my Brit for 100 days,” said SheKera Griner, Brittney’s sister. “It’s been totally heartbreaking for me and my family – his mum and dad, my siblings, myself.”
There are obviously complications here. For example: should the United States government retaliate with an exchange of “prisoners” involving the release of the so-called “merchant of death”?
It was February 17 when Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport after local police allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage. The timing was horrific, because ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States called Griner “wrongfully detained,” her detention was officially extended, and…
Russian state media reported that the asking price for Griner’s return was Viktor Bout.
The “merchant of death”.
Bout is an arms dealer, ominously nicknamed the “dealer of death”, so infamous that he is the subject of Nicolas Cage’s film “Lord of War”.
Yahoo writes: “When the Soviet Union lurched and crumbled in 1991, Bout, then in his twenties, shrewdly saw an opportunity amidst the chaos. Heaps of arms and ammunition lay in dusty warehouses. Military planes were abandoned on Soviet airstrips because there was no money for maintenance or fuel, and no one was flying them.
“Relying on his military connections, Bout acquired several massive cargo planes and began transporting various goods, from freshly cut flowers to frozen foods. But he made his real money, authorities say, delivering supplies of ‘Soviet weapons and ammunition to bad actors around the world, including the Taliban, as well as various fights in Africa.”
In November 2007, Bout was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in a US prison, where he remains today. Yahoo reports that “Bout has been at the top of the Kremlin’s prisoner exchange wish list. Russia has repeatedly signaled its willingness to make a potential swap for imprisoned Americans, but so far the United States has been unwilling to part ways with Bout.
A US State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that President Biden has been clear about the importance of bringing home US nationals detained overseas. Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, expressed her impatience in this regard.
“There’s one person who can pick her up, and that’s our president,” Griner told ESPN. “He has this power. You know, I’m just like, ‘Why don’t we use it? Like, urgently, use it.’ We expect him to use his power to do so.”
Others argue that the issue is more complex than that.
“The Biden administration’s potential decision to trade this heinous Russian criminal, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States for his involvement in the murder of Americans, is a huge mistake,” said the former agent. intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler at Fox News Digital. “This move will only encourage Russian intelligence to seize Americans on Russian soil, so they can be swapped for much more valuable assets for Putin.”
These are policy issues. SheKera Griner and others issued a moving plea to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the U.S. government as a whole to, as she said, “please do whatever it takes to bring our sister back. home safely and quickly”.
For the Griner family, it’s not about politics.
“I don’t wish this on anyone,” SheKera said.