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The U.S. Should Leave Griner in Jail in Russia

I had never heard of Brittney Griner until she was arrested and jailed in Russia for possession of cannabis at a Russian airport. Admittedly, I am ignorant of her WNBA stats, any endorsement deals or any knowledge of her personality. Based on the

wide ranging support she has received she seems like a decent person but none of that matters. As painful as it is and as unfair as her 9-year jail sentence may seem, the United States of America (U.S.) has no choice but to leave Brittney in jail in Russia.

Due to her fame this case has caused a major uprising in America. It has led to discussion of some type of prisoner swap where the U.S. turns over a dangerous Russian criminal in exchange for Griner-this is a mistake! (By default they also included Paul Whelan who has been held in a Russian jail since 2018 but the government didn't seem to care about him until his family made a fuss about the fact that they were only discussing Griner).

While I have some sympathy for Griner let's face the facts she, wittingly or unwittingly, broke the law by possessing the cannabis at the airport. We in America, may think the sentence is harsh, but she wasn't in America! When you travel overseas you are subject to the laws of the country in which are visiting. Drugs are punished harshly in Russia; I've never been to Russia but even I was aware that it is the last place you want to catch a criminal case. There is no circumstance in which I would have played with fire by possessing drugs in a nation with a well known harsh criminal justice system like Russia. When you consider Griner's knowledge of the country, having gone over there to play for years, you have to admit she brought a lot of this upon herself.

If the U.S. goes through with this deal it will set a terrible precedent going forward. If we do this it will be open season on all American tourist traveling in rouge nations around the World. Our government for years, has refused this level of foreign blackmail. Even when Americans have been captured, tortured and ultimately murdered (just ask the parents of murdered American Kayla Mueller) the U.S. governments' official policy has been not to negotiate or give in to the demands. Why? Because the government knows doing so will only encourage more such crime. Why is this any different? Because she's rich and famous her life is worth more than other, regular Americans? I reject this notion and we should not endanger the lives of other Americans for one basketball player who broke Russian law in Russia.

Any deal or prisoner exchange for Griner will no doubt put American lives at risk, the only difference is if they are not rich and famous the government may be less inclined to do anything about it. This fact will not stop nations from bogus arrests, possible torture or murder all in an attempt to force the U.S. to make a deal, the risk is much too high.

The government should do everything it can do diplomatically to bring all jailed Americans, including Griner, home. That can not include however, making shady deals with rouge nations that release dangerous criminals back into society. If this were a trumped up charge or political statement by the Russian government and Griner an innocent victim of political gamesmanship then I might be inclined for some sort of exchange. As the facts stand now however for Griner this is a painful example of If you do the crime you have to do the time.

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