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Disturbingly, it’s not actually a given that voices on the Right are celebrating the release of an American from Russian detention at a penal colony in what likely amounted to brutal work camp conditions in a remote environment without basic protections from the elements available and where it was unsure that detainees would receive necessary levels of food or medical care.

Those subjected to similar stints in the Russian prison system also face threats of violence and torment with little if any avenues of meaningful recourse available for those facing illness, injury, or death in terms of imprisonment in which it wasn’t even a given they’d always be reachable by those on the outside.

The Biden administration revealed a deal this week securing the release from a years-long Russian prison term of basketball star Brittany Griner in exchange for a Russian arms dealer held by the Americans, and Trump took to his alternative social media site Truth Social to complain about the arrangement and explicitly called it an embarrassment to the United States: “What kind of a deal is it to swap Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our Country, for the man known as “The Merchant of Death,” who is one of the biggest arms dealers anywhere in the World, and responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries. Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally one-sided transaction? He would have been let out for the asking. What a “stupid” and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!!!”

Others on the Right who have also raised complaints about the arrangement include Peter Doocy at Fox News and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). It is, of course, objectively ridiculous to refer to Griner’s position about domestic politics as hatred of the United States. Also, it has been pointedly noted elsewhere that Whelan wasn’t newly taken into Russian custody under the Biden administration. He was also detained while Trump was in power, and Trump failed to secure Whelan’s release.

For those like Griner who might just be an “ordinary” citizen who’s become an authority at whatever it is they do, Trump, Doocy, and those who think similarly seem largely uninterested in securing a release from the threat of foreign violence. The prisoner swap doesn’t entail some kind of assertion that the crimes committed by the newly released arms dealer are somehow not that bad, but in the decision-making process that leads the execution of criminal justice in the United States, sometimes those who someone might like to see further punished instead evade additional consequences. Trump himself was involved with trying to absolve a Saudi leader of scrutiny after that prince was involved with the murder of a journalist — acts by the then-president that drew widespread condemnation and rather than a calculated move for the safety of an American detained overseas were potentially connected to economic concerns.