Biden meets with Brittney Griner’s spouse amid stalemate on 9-year sentence

President Biden met Friday on the White Space with Cherelle Griner, the spouse of WNBA megastar Brittney Griner, who’s serving a nine-year jail sentence in Russia for marijuana — as US efforts to win her unlock falter.

The night assembly used to be closed to journalists and Cherelle Griner used to be no longer anticipated to talk with journalists later on.

Biden additionally hosted Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, who Russia sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2020 for allegedly spying.

Griner, 31, pleaded in charge in July to possessing a small quantity of hashish oil when she used to be detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Feb. 17, precisely one week earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine prompting harsh US sanctions.

The USA govt declared that Griner used to be “wrongfully detained” and reportedly introduced to unlock notorious Russian palms broker Viktor Bout, who’s jailed in america, in alternate for Griner and Whelan.

The Kremlin hasn’t agreed to the change — as america sends billions of bucks value of weaponry and monetary support to give a boost to Ukraine’s govt in combating off Russia’s invasion.

Cherelle Griner has been important of the Biden management’s earlier state of being inactive.

“They have got no longer replied to our be offering,” White Space Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby stated Friday. “We have now made a major be offering to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan again house. The Russians have no longer replied to that supply.”

A Russian govt spokesperson prior to now denied that Griner’s prosecution used to be political, pronouncing, “She violated Russian legislation, and now she’s being prosecuted.”

Cherelle Griner has been important of the Biden management’s efficiency, telling The Related Press in June that she hadn’t been ready to talk along with her spouse in 4 months.

“I to find it unacceptable and I’ve 0 consider in our govt at this time,” Cherelle Griner stated on the time.

Whelan has been imprisoned in Russia since 2020.
Biden additionally hosted Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Russian political prisoner Paul Whelan.

The Phoenix Thriller heart’s spouse spoke with Biden via telephone on July 6 after venting concerning the loss of growth within the case.

Marc Fogel, every other US citizen jailed in Russia in June were given a 14-year sentence for possessing what he stated used to be scientific marijuana. The USA govt hasn’t integrated him within the proposed prisoner change. 

Marijuana reform advocates indicate that Biden has no longer but fulfilled his 2019 marketing campaign pledge to unfastened “everybody” in federal US prisons for pot crimes, which he can do together with his constitutional clemency powers.

There are 2,700 federal pot inmates, consistent with a up to date congressional estimate, together with some with lifestyles sentences, together with Pedro Moreno, 62, who dispensed marijuana imported from Mexico from 1986 to 1996. Any other federal inmate, Luke Scarmazzo, 42, has served 14 years of a 22-year sentence for working a scientific marijuana trade in California.

Biden is an opponent of outright marijuana legalization, although he says he helps decriminalization of the drug.

As a senator, Biden authored regulation that despatched some pot sellers to jail for lifestyles with out parole. And final 12 months, the White Space fired no less than 5 staffers who admitted to previous pot use.

There has been a prisoner swap proposed to bring Whelan home.
Whelan used to be sentenced to 16 years in Russian jail for allegedly spying.

Outgoing President Donald Trump commuted the sentences of seven folks serving lifestyles phrases for marijuana in 2021 — together with two males who got lifestyles with out parole underneath the three-strikes provision of the Biden-authored 1994 crime legislation.

Marijuana is criminal for scientific or leisure use underneath state legislation in maximum portions of america, however American government nonetheless arrested greater than 350,000 folks in 2020 for pot offenses, consistent with FBI knowledge.

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