Brittney Griner is Free, However One other American Stays Locked Up in Russia for Pot


Brittney Griner is again on American soil following ten months in Russian custody on drug prices. However different U.S. residents stay locked up in Russia, together with a 61-year-old man whose detention mirrors the expertise of Griner. 

Politico published a story final week on Marc Fogel, who was arrested final 12 months after Russian authorities discovered medical marijuana in his possession. 

“Fogel’s case bears a hanging similarity to Griner’s, which has captured nationwide headlines because the WNBA star was detained in Russia in February 2022. Like Griner, Fogel — a 61-year-old historical past instructor from Pennsylvania who lived in Russia whereas instructing on the Anglo-American College in Moscow — was taken into custody by Russian authorities in August 2021 after customs officers at a Russian airport found round half an oz. of medical marijuana stashed in his baggage,” Politico reported. 

“The medication had been prescribed to him by medical doctors within the U.S. to assist deal with power ache stemming from a sequence of accidents and operations, however Fogel’s causes didn’t matter. Ten months later, in June 2022, a Russian court docket convicted him of drug trafficking prices and sentenced him to 14 years in jail. In October, Fogel was transferred from a Moscow detention heart to one among Russia’s infamous penal colonies, the place he’s slated to serve the rest of his sentence,” the outlet continued

Griner, a perennial all-star for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and one of the adorned ladies’s basketball gamers ever, was released last week after U.S. and Russian officers negotiated a prisoner swap. In change for the discharge of Griner, the U.S. agreed to free Viktor Bout, a Russian arms supplier who had been serving a 25-year jail sentence in the USA.

The deal drew some criticism from those that lamented the discharge of Bout, nicknamed the “Service provider of Demise.” There was additionally disappointment that the U.S. was unable to additionally safe the discharge of Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen who has been detained by Russia since 2018 on espionage prices.

U.S. officers sought a two-for-one deal –– Griner and Whelan in change for Bout –– however such an association by no means materialized.

“We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan,” President Joe Biden mentioned final week following Griner’s launch. 

Griner was arrested at a Russian airport in February after officers discovered a small quantity of hashish oil in her baggage. She pleaded responsible to the costs, however mentioned she didn’t intend to interrupt the regulation. In August, a Russian court found her guilty and sentenced her to 9 years in jail. 

Griner’s detention attracted worldwide consideration, and emerged as a diplomatic standoff between the USA and Russia. Foley’s case, in the meantime, has flown decidedly below the radar. 

“The State Division has not granted him “wrongfully detained” standing, regardless of repeated appeals from a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Fogel’s attorneys. (A spokesperson for the State Division declined to touch upon the specifics of Fogel’s case, saying: “The Division repeatedly critiques the circumstances surrounding the detentions of U.S. nationals abroad, together with these in Russia, for indicators that they’re wrongful.”) Within the media, Fogel’s detention has been overshadowed by the protection of Griner and Paul Whelan, an American businessman and former Marine who has been held in Russia since 2018 on espionage prices,” Politico reported final week.

“It’s a bit mysterious to me why we [aren’t] speaking about three Individuals — now, fortunately, two Individuals — as an alternative of only one,” mentioned Michael McFaul, the previous U.S. ambassador to Russia, told Politico. “He’s not just a few random man that acquired arrested — he was a part of our group … He taught our children, the children of U.S. authorities officers and he taught our army’s children.”

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