Brittney Grinercertainly went through a lot of hardships during her arrest in Russia. She was detained by the Russian authorities after unknowingly packing hashish vape cartridges in her luggage. For 10 months, Griner suffered in Russia and was initially sentenced to nine years in prison. However, miraculously a deal fell through between the United States and Russia which brought her back home.
The US initially planned on including ex-marinePaul Whelanin the prisoner swap but only Griner s release was agreed on. This received a lot of backlash, even from popular American Columnist, Ben Shapiro. White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre praised Griner during a press conference. She called Brittney a perfect representation of the US. Shapiro was particularly unhappy about these comments.
Brittney is an important role model, and an inspiration to millions of Americans because she is a gay Black woman. That is the thing that makes her so darn important,he said. He also highlighted Nancy Pelosi s statement on Griner calling her freedom, a gift to the world. He said,Her freedom is a gift to the world, to all of us? Because she s going home to her wife and we just passed a same-sex marriage act in the house, what? Why the special treatment?If Griner was so important, then where does Paul Whelan stand as an ex-marine? Ben Shapiro s main argument was over Whelan s unjust arrest.
What happened to Paul Whelan?
In December 2022, Brittney Griner was swapped forViktor Boutat an airport in the Middle East. For several months, the US government planned on including arrested ex-marine Paul Whelan in a prisoner swap. To everyone s surprise, Whelan was not released. Whelan was arrested in Moscow back in 2018. He was booked for espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Brittney Griner held back tears while speaking to reporters ahead of her basketball return with the WNBA s Phoenix Mercury. Griner, who spent 10 months detained in Russia, also sent a message to Americans Paul Whelan & Evan Gershkovich, who are both detained abroad. pic.twitter.com/PSTmfTTnAv
NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 27, 2023
Following Griner s release, Whelan addressed the world about his feelings about being excluded from the deal.According to NPR, he said,I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the fourth anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred. I don t understand why I m still sitting here?
Paul has been left behind twice It s really important that we stress that that cannot happen again. Paul Whelan must be part of any deal that happens in the future.
Paul Whelan s sister Elizabeth and Linda Thomas-Greenfield on efforts to bring him home from Russia. pic.twitter.com/JwW0JzFk7H
Good Morning America (@GMA) April 25, 2023
President of the US, Joe Biden claimed that Whelan s release was denied as his reason for arrest was different from Griner s. Biden also said that he urges the Russian authorities to keep Whelan s health and life as a top priority until his release. The US administration is still fighting for Whelan s release. What made the situation much worse was the fact that Whelan was completing four years of his arrest and the US had not made efforts until now.