According to statistics, five US citizens are currently lodged in Russian jails, while more than a hundred Russians are currently lodged in different US jails. They have been arrested from different parts of the world on various charges and brought to America.
Image Credit source: TV9 network
America and Russia The war is not being fought only with weapons, but both the countries are also making each other’s citizens as weapons in their fight. sometimes in the name of espionage drug charges In this or in any other case, the citizens of both the countries are forced to stay in jail for years in the fight between these two superpowers. Seeing the kind of relations between Russia and America regarding the Ukraine crisis, the possibility of such common people coming out of the jail of other countries is less.
I met Mira Terada in Moscow. Meera went to America for studies and fell in love with an American in 2014 and got married. Meera’s troubles started from here. According to Meera, after some time there was a rift with her husband, which soon took the form of violence. One day the husband even fired a bullet at Meera. Barely survived. Meera returned to her homeland after getting a divorce from her husband.
Woman trapped because of divorced husband’s drugs
Mira was on her way to Spain with her mother for a holiday to forget all the troubles when she was arrested at the Finnish airport in December 2018. Meera didn’t even know then what was her fault. In June 2019, Meera was extradited from Finland to the US. On going to America, she came to know that she was being dragged into the drugs business of her divorced husband.
On the basis of forced confession, the American court sentenced him to two and a half years. Meera returned back to Russia in May 2021 after suffering a total of 888 days of torture in 11 different jails of America. Now she is running an organization called Foundation to Battle injustice which fights to get justice in such cases. Apart from this, Meera is working on issues related to human rights and has written books on her experiences. She is also working as a journalist.
Olympic medalist Britney is also in Russian jail
The story of America’s basketball superstar Brittany Griner is no different from Meera’s. Two-time Olympic medalist Brittany Griner used to come to Russia to play basketball for the past several years. In February this year, when the Russia-Ukraine tension was at its peak, Britney was arrested at the Moscow airport in the case of drugs as soon as she reached Russia. Banned Cannabis oil was found from him. Britney is given a nine-year sentence. He is kept in a prison in Mordovia which is notorious for its tortures.
Mira Terada told TV9 that Britney’s place is not in jail but in the basketball court. According to the statement made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov on November 18, in exchange for Britney Griner, Russia has demanded the release of Russian pilot Victor Bout, who is in American prison. Victor was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on the basis of an American sting operation on arms smuggling charges. After being extradited to the US in 2011, he was sentenced to 25 years.
Apart from Brittany Griner, America has also demanded the release of Paul Whelan in exchange for Victor bout. Paul Wellen, a former US Marine, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage in Russia. The matter is currently stuck due to the demand of releasing two Americans in exchange for one person from Russia.
Russian national arrested in Moscow to meet girlfriend
In April this year, Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was in American prison, was released in exchange for former American soldier Trevor Reed, who was in Russian prison. Trevor Reed, who is learning Russian, went to Moscow in 2019 to meet his girlfriend. Trevor was sentenced to nine years for assaulting policemen while returning from a party after getting drunk. Although Trevor says that because of his military background, the Russian agency sent him to jail on false charges. At the same time, Russian pilot Yashchenko was arrested by the US agency DEA in 2010 from Liberia. It was alleged that Yaroshenko and his associates were trying to bring drugs from Colombia to Liberia and send them to America in small consignments. Yershenko’s American lawyer had claimed in the court that the US agency DEA had bribed the Liberian police in Yershenko’s case. In 2011, the American court sentenced the Russian pilot to twenty years. He returned to his homeland in April 2022 with the exchange of Trevor Reid and Yershenko.
There are many such cases. According to the information, five citizens of America are currently lodged in jails of Russia, while more than a hundred people of Russia are still lodged in different jails of America. They have been arrested from different parts of the world on various charges and brought to America.
Meera Terada says that the time has come when ordinary citizens should stop being used as political weapons. He hopes that one day the governments of both the countries will realize that human rights are being sacrificed in the politics of revenge. There is no malice in Meera’s mind even after suffering tortures in the jail. Looking at the current Russia-America relations, it does not seem that for the time being, cases like Mira Terada can be prevented from repeating in both the countries.