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  • Larissa Martin

I Hope Brittney Griner Fights For Others Who Are Wrongfully Detained


Larissa Martin


Dec 19, 2022

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was detained in Russia for 10 months, is now home with her wife in the U.S. 

Currently, 32-year-old Griner is receiving care and routine evaluation at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio following her release from what US officials deemed wrongful detention. She was freed amid Russia’s war with Ukraine in a prisoner swap for notorious convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. I am thrilled that she is home, safe, and happy with her family and friends where she belongs. But why was she detained in the first place?

Hashish or hash oil possession. She was carrying less than one gram in her luggage. She had cartridges for personal use, but Cannabis and Hashish are illegal in Russia. An individual possessing less than six grams of cannabis or two grams of hash can be fined and jailed for 15 days. Anything more than that is a serious criminal offense, but she had less than a gram. She told the court that she had no intent and didn’t want to break the law. 

I understand the need for her to face the consequences of her actions, but taking it this far seems unfair and unjustified to me. 

I’m sure many people have been following this story from the beginning. The U.S. made a deal with Russia for Griner to be released. Russia wanted convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout who was dubbed “Merchant of Death” by the media. A lot of people thought someone like Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who is currently serving 16 years in a Russian prison, could be included in this exchange. But this wasn’t part of the plan, which is mind-boggling to me. It’s definitely something I will never understand. I just hope that Paul Whelan and other people who are detained in Russia will be able to return home sooner rather than later.

Did being privileged help Brittney Griner? Absolutely. It gave her the resources and advocates fighting for her release. I’m so glad she had that and that she’ll be able to get the help she needs to recover. My hope is that we fight just as hard to bring more people home with just as much passion as we had to bring Brittney Griner home. Everyone who has experienced this needs the same support she’s been getting. People deserve it, whether they’re famous or not.

Brittney Griner is home, and I can’t imagine what she has gone through. I hope now that she’s home, she’s getting the care she needs. I also hope that she will fight like people did for her to come home because it’ll make all the difference and highlight the names that we don’t know

Featured image via “Brittney Griner” by Lorie Shaull i/ CC BY-SA 2.0.


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