Brittney Griner is Free, But Another American Remains Locked Up in Russia for Pot

Britney Griner is back on American soil after being detained in Russia for 10 months on drug charges. It remains

Politico published a story About Mark Vogel, who was arrested last year after Russian authorities found him in possession of medical marijuana last week.

“The Vogel case is very similar to the Greiner case, which has made national headlines since the WNBA star was detained in Russia in February 2022. A 61-year-old history teacher from Russia who has been teaching in Russia, the Anglo-American School in Moscow said in August 2021 that customs officers at a Russian airport had about half an ounce of medical marijuana hidden in his luggage. He was taken into custody by Russian authorities after it was discovered that he was being Politico report.

“These drugs were prescribed by doctors in the United States to treat chronic pain resulting from a series of injuries and surgeries, but Vogel’s reasons were not the issue. Ten months later. In June 2022, a Russian court found him guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.In October, Vogel was released from a Moscow detention center in one of Russia’s notorious penal colonies. He will be transferred to the United States, where he will serve the remainder of his sentence.” outlet continued.

Griner, a longtime All-Star for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and one of the most decorated women’s basketball players of all time, was released last week after U.S. and Russian officials negotiated a prisoner exchange. In exchange for his release, the United States agreed to release Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

The deal drew criticism from those who lamented the release of Bout, dubbed “The Merchant of Death”. It was also disappointing that the US was unable to secure the release of Paul Whelan, a US citizen detained by Russia on suspicion of spying since 2018.

US officials sought a two-for-one deal between Griner and Whelan in exchange for Bout, but no such deal materialized.

“We haven’t forgotten Paul Whelan,” President Joe Biden said last week following Griner’s release.

Griner was arrested in February after a small amount of cannabis oil was found in his luggage at a Russian airport. Although she pleaded guilty to her charges, she said she had no intention of breaking the law.In August, a Russian court found her guilty and sentenced her to nine years in prison. I went down.

Griner’s detention has drawn international attention and emerged as a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Russia.

“The State Department has not granted him ‘wrongfully detained’ status despite repeated appeals from a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Vogel’s attorneys. (A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the details of Vogel’s case, saying, “The State Department is continuously reviewing the circumstances surrounding the detention of American nationals abroad, including in Russia, for indications that they are illegal.” According to media reports, Vogel’s detention is overshadowed by reports of Griner and Paul Whelan, an American businessman and former Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges. increase. ” Politico report last week.

“Why do we [aren’t] We’re talking not just one, but three Americans, and now, thankfully, two Americans. Said Politico“He’s not just a random guy who got arrested. He was a part of our community…he was part of our children, the children of U.S. government officials, and our military children.” I taught to

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