Bout, who is the inspiration behind the 2005 Nicolas Cage film, Lord of War, was arrested as a part of the U.S. government’s elaborate 2008 operation to capture and prosecute the man believed to be one of the world’s largest illicit arms dealers. His nickname is “the Merchant of Death.”
In 2012, the 55-year-old was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after he was convicted of selling arms to Colombian rebels. According to prosecutors, the weapons were intended to be used to kill Americans.
Since his arrest, Russians have demanded his release, saying that he was targeted unfairly. Now, the attorney representing Bout says that the exchange for Griner “really isn’t complicated.”
People have noted the stark difference in the cases of both Griner and Bout ,saying that the WNBA superstar is up against a questionable Russian justice system and considered a hostage by U.S. officials. On the other hand, Bout was lawfully convicted of serious crimes.
“I would take the trade,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. Due to federal sentencing rules, Bout could be released from prison in just five years.
The potential release of Griner comes on the heels of reports previously made by REVOLT that the 31-year-old pleaded guilty to travelling with vape cartridges containing hashish oil.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor,” said Griner in a Russian courtroom on July 7. “I was in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag.”
Just a day before her court appearance, President Joe Biden spoke with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, noting that officials are doing all that they can to bring her wife home safely and as quickly as possible.