Brittney Griner’s case in Russia appears to be the latest example of ‘hostage diplomacy.’

Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. athlete dealing with drug fees in Russia as Moscow presses forward with its battle in Ukraine, could also be merely the most recent sufferer of a observe so widespread it has its personal identify: hostage diplomacy.

The U.S. authorities formally classifies Ms. Griner as “wrongfully detained,” which means that it believes the costs in opposition to her are spurious.

A variety of Individuals have been swept up by hostile governments trying to make use of them as bargaining chips as a part of some bigger battle with Washington.

North Korea detained Otto F. Warmbier, a university pupil visiting with a vacationer group, in early 2016, releasing him 17 months later in a coma and days from demise.

Additionally in 2016, Turkey arrested a visiting pastor, Andrew Brunson, on espionage fees. The case was extensively seen as an effort to strain Washington to extradite a Turkish dissident residing in the USA. Mr. Brunson was launched in 2018 amid warming diplomatic ties.

Venezuela arrested six American oil executives in 2017, because the Trump administration was secretly collaborating in talks about overturning that nation’s authorities. Venezuela launched a kind of executives in March of this 12 months, together with an American vacationer detained final 12 months for bringing a pictures drone into the nation. Their releases got here as Washington was discussing renewing oil imports from Venezuela to counteract rising costs.

Iran is taken into account a number one offender on the subject of hostage diplomacy, having arrested dozens of twin nationals, together with the Washington Submit reporter Jason Rezaian, who was imprisoned from 2014 to 2016 on spurious espionage fees. In 2009, amid rising tensions over the nation’s nuclear program, Iran arrested three American hikers close to Iraq’s border with the nation.

The hikers’ fates have been left dangling for 2 years, forcing Washington to weigh the difficulty alongside its nuclear calls for to Tehran. The Individuals have been launched simply as reformists, who favored engagement with Washington, have been gaining energy inside Iran on the expense of hard-liners who pushed for confrontation with the West.

“There’s little or no you are able to do to stop one other state from participating in hostage diplomacy,” Van Jackson, a political scientist at Victoria College of Wellington in New Zealand, told The Diplomat, a global affairs journal.

Although the observe is most related to pariah states which have little worldwide standing or overseas tourism to lose, China has repeatedly detained Western nationals below related circumstances.

In 2018, shortly after Canadian authorities detained a Chinese language telecom govt on extradition fees, China arrested two Canadian residents. Although Beijing denied that they have been hostages, it freed them on the identical day that Canada launched the Chinese language govt.

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