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Who could be part of an American-Russian prisoner swap?

#part #AmericanRussian #prisoner #swap

Moscow and Washington have held talks on a new prisoner swap in a rare moment of dialogue amid rising tensions over Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Among the possible candidates for the swap are a Russian arms dealer, a former teacher and a US basketball star.

-Brittney Griner-

US basketball star Brittney Griner is on trial in Russia after she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. The arrest came just days before Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine on February 24.

She said it was prescribed by a US doctor to ease the pain of her many injuries.

The 31-year-old Phoenix Mercury player arrived in Russia during the off-season to play basketball for a club in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

The two-time Olympic and women’s NBA champion has been charged with drug smuggling and Russian prosecutors have asked for a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

-Paul Whelan-

Former US Marine Paul Whelan, 52, was arrested in December 2018 and accused of espionage by Russian security services.

He was arrested on a visit to Moscow to attend a wedding when he took a USB stick from an acquaintance, thinking it contained vacation photos.

The former vehicle parts company security guard, who also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage in June 2020.

During his closed trial, Whelan pleaded not guilty.

-Marc Fögel-

US citizen Marc Fogel, a teacher at an international school in Moscow, was sentenced in June to 14 years in prison for “large-scale” cannabis trafficking.

Russian customs officers said they found marijuana and hash oil in Fogel’s luggage when he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport from New York.

Fogel said the marijuana was prescribed in the United States for medical use after spinal surgery.

Russia has not legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Russian officials said Fogel was formerly employed by the US embassy in Moscow and enjoyed diplomatic immunity until May 2021.

-Victor Bout-

Russian arms dealer Victor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in US prison in 2012 after being accused of arming rebels in some of the world’s bloodiest conflicts.

The 55-year-old is considered the most high-profile Russian imprisoned in the United States.

The former Soviet Air Force officer and polyglot was arrested in Thailand in 2008 during a covert operation in which US agents posed as Colombian FARC rebels seeking weapons.

He inspired the 2005 arms smuggling film Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, and was dubbed the “Merchant of Death” by former British Minister Peter Hain for supplying arms to war-torn Angola and Liberia.

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