Uk News Brittney Griner's freedom will be sold off by the Kremlin as hostage diplomacy keeps paying off United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! The case of Brittney Griner has been described as a textbook example of hostage diplomacy, a phenomenon that has become increasingly common – and successful – for rogue regimes in the past decade.Countries including – but not exclusively – Russia, Iran and China have picked up Westerners, held them on spurious charges and subjected them to questionable legal processes, only to offer their freedom for a price. “They are used as a bargaining chip to get something out of their home government,” said Rachel Briggs, one of the UK’s leading experts on hostage-taking.“What we have seen over the last five to 10 years is the rise of hostage diplomacy. They (countries) use their judicial services as a smokescreen to disguise what I would call state hostage-taking.” See moreWith today’s sentencing, Russia continues its wrongful detention of Brittney Griner. She should be released immediately. @POTUS and I, and our entire Administration, are working every day to reunite Brittney, as well as Paul Whelan, with loved ones who miss each of them dearly.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) August 4, 2022The most recent case to hit headlines this week is Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, who was arrested on 17 February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.America’s fears that Russia may use Griner as a bargaining tool were realised when she was jailed for nine years over a drug charge on Thursday, sparking outrage among US politicians. Still, the two countries said on Friday that they were ready to discuss a prisoner swap, which would also free another American being detained in Russia, US Marine Paul Whelan.Although the details have not been confirmed officially, it is widely believed that the US offered the release of Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer nicknamed the “merchant of death” who is serving a 25-year prison sentence.“The reality is the only way you can get people home in these cases is by trading,” said Ms Briggs.“There’s a duty of care for countries like the US that have not put in place long term strategies to keep their people safe overseas (and) to try to end this crime.”‘From the shadows to the public glare’Ms Briggs was founding executive director of Hostage US and the first director of Hostage UK (now Hostage International), charities which support the families of hostages.She said over the course of 15 years working with the charities, cases of state hostage-taking “were growing and growing” and most people would never hear about them. But that is beginning to change. Families who were previously told by authorities to keep their head down while officials dealt with the case quietly behind the scenes realised that going public would add pressure on governments to take action quicker and to take bigger risks to get their loved ones home. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella outside 10 Downing Street (Photo: Victoria Jones/PA)One such example is Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian-British dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who campaigned tirelessly for his wife’s freedom after she was detained in Iran in 2016.Before she was eventually released in March, Mr Ratcliffe publicly protested her imprisonment and went on two hunger strikes outside the UK Parliament to persuade the Government to increase efforts for her release.
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.She added: “Going public is beneficial, not least because it puts pressure on politicians to stick their neck on the line and take some risks to get family members home.“These cases go from the shadows to the public glare.”The Belgium-Iran dealHostage-taking has been a tool of choice for Iran ever since the infamous 1979 hostage crisis in Tehran in which 52 American were held for 444 days. There are at least 21 dual and foreign nationals known to be jailed in Iran, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, but these are only the cases that are known to the public. Among them is Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, who is being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran after being arrested on dubious espionage charges in February. In order to get him home, the Belgian parliament ratified a prisoner swap treaty with Iran.If it becomes law, it is likely to lead to the release of an Iranian diplomat jailed for planning to bomb a rally of an exiled Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).Assadollah Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium last year after being convicted over the foiled 2018 bomb plot in Paris. It was the first trial of an Iranian official for suspected terrorism in Europe since Iran’s 1979 revolution.More from WorldConspiracy theorist Alex Jones ordered to pay $50m in damages to parents of Sandy Hook victim06 August, 2022How a free school under a bridge in Delhi is changing the lives of India's poorest children06 August, 2022Alex Jones finally told the truth in Sandy Hook trial but he'll still try to dodge consequences05 August, 2022The highly controversial treaty has been labelled hostage diplomacy and has raised concerns it would put other Belgians at risk of detention.According to reports, the treaty could potentially set a dangerous precedent as it would allow Iranians convicted in Belgium to serve their sentences in Iran.Hossein Abedini, deputy director of NCRI’s UK office, said after Assadi was jailed, the Iranian regime has resorted to making threats against Western citizens and dual nationals that it is holding prisons “as pawns”. He described the regime as “a master of the criminal enterprise of hostage diplomacy”, adding: “European governments should note that they have both a legal and a moral obligation to prevent the release of the regime’s terrorists and human rights violators.”‘A reality of foreign policy’While deals such as the prisoner exchange to free Ms Griner would raise concerns about releasing potentially dangerous criminals, Ms Briggs said there is little to no evidence that it would provide countries an incentive to take more hostages.She pointed to a study by the US global policy think tank Rand which found that there was “meagre and unconvincing” evidence to support the idea that a no-concessions policy – denying a reward to the kidnappers – provided an effective deterrent to kidnapping. Ms Briggs said hostage-taking depended far more on what is happening in a particular country at a particular time, saying it was no coincidence that Griner was arrested days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.“Doing deals that leave a sour taste in the mouth is not something that is done exclusively to bring American hostages home, it’s a reality of the foreign policy of many different Western governments and it has been for many decades,” Ms Briggs added. “I do think that if countries have not got their act together and don’t have a long term strategy to end this crime, they need to step up and do what it takes to get there people home.”
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