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Griner’s fate tangled up with other American held in Russia

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a...
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 13, 2022. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at the Moscow airport in February after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)(Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 8:37 AM MST
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WASHINGTON (AP) - WNBA star Brittney Griner is easily the most prominent American locked up by a foreign country. But the Phoenix Mercury player’s case is tangled up with that of another prisoner few Americans have heard of.

Paul Whelan also has been held in Russia since his December 2018 arrest on espionage charges he and the U.S. government say are false. Whelan was left out of a prisoner exchange in April that brought home yet another detainee, Marine veteran Trevor Reed.

That resolution escalates pressure on the Biden administration to avoid a repeat scenario of another one-for-one swap that does not include Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan.

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