AMANDA Knox has revealed that Brittney Griner’s release from prison in Russia gave her “reflections” on her own release from prison in Italy.
In an essay for TIME, Knox reacted to the WNBA star’s one-for-one swap with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, saying former Marine still jailed in Russia, Paul Whalen, deserves no less freedom.
“The American basketball star, who was convicted on absurd drug trafficking charges for possessing vape cartridges in her luggage and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison, was clearly being used as a political pawn by Putin,” Knox wrote.
In her essay, Knox, 35, criticized debates about whether it was fair to bring Griner home in exchange for Bout, who is considered the “merchant of death.”
“I was hoping this would be a moment for uncontested celebration,” she explained.
Instead, many, including former President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., have said the deal is not good for the US and has made Putin more powerful.
“And yet the news of her release has caused some to question whether she is worthy of freedom. It gives me flashbacks,” she added.
Knox was 20 when she first came to prominence in 2007 when she was charged with the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
She and then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of stabbing 21-year-old Kercher to death in an apartment in Perugia, Italy, in 2007.
The pair were found guilty in 2009 but released on appeal two years later. Her guilty verdict was reinstated in 2014 but overturned by the Italian Supreme Court in March 2015.
Knox said she understands that her criminal case, like that of Griner and Whelan, is not a priority for the US government.
She wrote: “From the Government’s perspective, my innocence was a figure on a chart, a small one that had to be weighed against many other variables.
“The same goes for Brittany Griner and Paul Whelan. Your innocence is not enough. Your freedom has measurable value for our government, including for PR reasons.”
Knox added that she understands why the US government chose Griner and not Whelan, who was court-martialled by the Marines in 2008 on charges of theft, dereliction of duty and bad checks.
“On the chessboard of world politics, I understand why his release would be a lower priority than that of a celebrated athlete. Justice is often a popularity contest,” she concluded.
Notwithstanding her popularity, Knox wrote from her point of view: “Whelan deserves freedom no less than Griner.
“From a moral point of view, only her innocence counts.”
Griner, 32, returned to the US on December 9 following the prisoner swap.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6913189/amanda-knox-brittney-griner-paul-whalen/ Amanda Knox says the release of Brittney Griner in Russia gave her “flashbacks” and Paul Whalen “deserves freedom no less”.