The Griner case is the latest in a series of high-profile prisoner swaps


Associated Press (AP) – Delicate negotiations between the United States and Russia led Friday to the return of basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, once dubbed “the dealer of death “.

It is the latest in a series of high-profile prisoner exchanges involving Americans held overseas. Here’s a look at some of the more notable exchanges.



Perhaps the most famous came during the height of the Cold War when Powers, a high-altitude U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, was traded on a German bridge against Russian spy Colonel Rudolph Abel. .

The swap was portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s 2015 film “Bridge of Spies.”

Powers was criticized by some for allowing himself to be captured but cleared of any wrongdoing. Documents declassified in 1998 show that Soviet intelligence did not obtain any vital information from him, according to his biography on the National Air and Space Museum website.



In August 1986, Gennadiy Zakharov, a 39-year-old Soviet physicist and United Nations employee, was arrested by the FBI on charges of federal espionage.

A few days later, Daniloff, the Moscow bureau chief for US News & World Report, was arrested by the KGB after a Soviet acquaintance gave him a sealed package containing cards marked “top secret”.

President Ronald Reagan’s administration called Daniloff’s detention a “trick”, although Moscow denied it was retaliation for Zakharov’s arrest.

In September Daniloff was released and Zakharov was allowed to leave the United States.



Bergdahl, a US Army sergeant, was released to US Special Forces in May 2014 after nearly five years of captivity in Afghanistan and arrived at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio the following month.

In exchange, the United States released five Taliban prisoners held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl had disappeared from a base in Afghanistan’s Paktika province near the Pakistan border in June 2009 and was branded a deserter by some. He pleaded guilty to desertion and endangering his comrades in October 2017 and was fired for dishonor, but was not jailed.



Earlier this year, Reed, a Navy veteran imprisoned in Russia for nearly three years, was traded for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who was serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine to United States.

Reed was arrested in the summer of 2019 and later sentenced to nine years in prison after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer as he was driven to a police station after a night of heavy drinking. ‘alcohol.

The US government said he was wrongfully detained and his family maintained his innocence.

Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and extradited to the United States for drug trafficking.



Four Americans, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, former US Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari were released from prison by Iranian authorities in January 2016.

The United States has pardoned or dropped the charges against seven Iranians.

Rezaian and Hekmati, both accused of espionage by Tehran, said they were tortured while in detention. Abedini was detained for endangering national security, presumably because of Christian proselytism.



In what has been called the largest spy swap since the end of the Cold War, 10 sleeper agents who had infiltrated the American suburbs were sentenced to prison and deported in July 2010 after pleading guilty of conspiracy.

They included Anna Chapman, whose sultry photos on social media sites made her a tabloid sensation.

They were exchanged for four Russian prisoners convicted of spying for the West.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.



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