Brittney Griner, from captivity in Russia to basketball

WASHINGTON During his first game after almost a year and a half absence from the fields and 10 months of detention in a Russian prison, Brittney GrinerThe 32-year-old cried and did what he had refused to do for years: stand during the anthem in the stadium. United States, who had responded many times in the past to protest police violence against African-American minorities. But on Friday evening, in a building with more than 10,000 spectators and the presence of Vice President Kamala Harris with whom he exchanged a hug, Griner – African-American, LGBTQ icon and champion of the basketball U.S. woman – thought it wasn’t time to compete: “I was literally in a cage and couldn’t do what I wanted to do, so just being able to hear my national anthem and see my flag lifts me up,” she said after. after her team, the Phoenix Mercury, lost 94 to 71 against the Los Angeles Sparks in the season opener in the WNBA, the women’s professional basketball league.


He returned with a new look, short hair and a much more masculine appearance, in what was the first real public celebration of his release. Griner spent nearly 10 months in a Russian prison, after being arrested on February 17, 2022 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, accused of carrying marijuana oil vaporizer cartridges: Russian laws against possession of drugs are very restrictive and do not distinguish between marijuana and hard drugs. Griner, who was in Russia to play against UMMC Yekaterinburg during the WNBA’s winter break since 2014, was arrested just days after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. D ‘here the diplomatic ties between Washington, the Western states and Moscow. have worsened, greatly complicating attempts to bring the champion back to the United States. Images of Griner have been shared all over social media: she is a tattooed giant with dreadlocks, small policemen are holding her in handcuffs, making her a symbol of the violence of Russian laws compared to the United States, where cannabis is legal for recreational use in 22 states. .

Tensions between the US and Russia over the Griner case dragged on until December of last year, when the 32-year-old was released: in the middle were the statements of his wife, Cherelle Griner, who saying he “didn’t trust the American » institutions, and then, on July 4, 2022, the player’s letter to US President Joe Biden. “I’m terrified I’ll have to stay here forever,” Griner wrote in an excerpt released by his lawyers. “I understand that you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other detainees,” he wrote in the letter to Biden, who has since has stepped up his diplomatic efforts by handling the situation personally along with Kamala Harris.


However, Griner was found guilty, sentenced to nine years in prison and transferred to a prison, and then, after a couple of months, was released thanks to the controversial prisoner exchange: Russia returned the trafficker weapons Viktor Bout, a Russian. citizen known as the trafficker of death who was extradited to the United States in 2010 from Thailand and later sentenced to 25 years in prison: He was found guilty by a New York court of selling weapons to Colombian FARC terrorists, a situation he always did. he denied claiming it was a US plot to imprison him. But the party continued without controversy Friday night, with Griner scoring 18 points, grabbing six rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes on the court, and has a full season ahead of him on a $165,000 contract. Meanwhile, another American citizen remains detained in Russia: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, arrested on March 29 on charges of espionage.


Source : IL Messaggero

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