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What Will it Take to Bring Brittney Griner and Other Political Prisoners Home?

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US basketball player Brittney Griner stands in a defendants' cage before a court hearing
US basketball player Brittney Griner stands in a defendants' cage before a court hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling, in Khimki, outside Moscow on August 2, 2022.  (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, remains detained in Russia after a court there sentenced her earlier this month to nine years in prison for carrying a small amount of hashish oil into the country. Her conviction and sentence came after a month-long trial widely denounced as a sham designed to give Russia political leverage over the United States. Griner’s case, painful in its injustice, is not unique: foreign governments are unlawfully holding dozens of Americans, and government hostage-taking is on the rise. We’ll talk about the impacts on families of political prisoners and what it may take to bring Griner and other Americans home.

Related link(s):

“The Prisoners Dilemma: America Must Adapt to a New Era of Hostage-Taking,” Foreign Affairs


Jason Rezaian, global opinions writer, The Washington Post; author, "Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison–Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out"

Danielle Gilbert, Rosenwald fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy & International Security, Dartmouth College

Kierra Johnson, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force


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