New York Post

Stand With Griner Against Putin


Make no mistake: Vladimir Putin chose Brittney Griner for special persecutio­n precisely to exploit our culture wars. No American should be fooled into thinking she doesn’t deserve our full support.

One of his kangaroo courts just sentenced the WNBA star to over nine years in prison for cannabis possession and drug smuggling, plus a fine of about $16,000. Yet the case was an outrage from the start.

Griner flew back to Moscow to play for a Russian pro women’s hoops team. Plainly singled out for extra scrutiny, she got arrested for “smuggling” all of 0.7 grams of cannabis oil in vape cartridges. How does that merit the legal maximum sentence?

No: The Russians singled out this American because she’s famous, black, lesbian and exercises her free-speech rights to speak out against police brutality, etc. — and as Putin loves to play the traditiona­l conservati­ve to appeal to Russians and many in the West, that made her a great hostage as he jousts with the West in support of his savage war of conquest in Ukraine.

Yes, we’re dubious about President Biden’s bid to get Griner and another US hostage freed in exchange for releasing arms trafficker Viktor “Merchant of Death” Bout, but that’s a side issue.

If you discount our nation’s duty to stand by this US citizen unjustly imprisoned by a foreign thug simply because you disagree with her, you’re playing into Putin’s hands.

Putin’s propaganda, at home and abroad, centers on painting America as decadent and somehow just as oppressive as his regime. Standing firm against his persecutio­n of Brittney Griner, no matter how much you disagree with her, is important to showing the world that our nation stands first and foremost for freedom.

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