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Sam Goodwin, an American entrepreneur and advocate for political hostages who was held captive in a Syrian prison in 2019, said at a conference in Minot he believes Brittney Griner will be in prison as long as it takes the United States to make a deal with Russia. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan) 
Sam Goodwin, an American entrepreneur and advocate for political hostages who was held captive in a Syrian prison in 2019, said at a conference in Minot he believes Brittney Griner will be in prison as long as it takes the United States to make a deal with Russia. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan) 

The Brittney Griner Case

Lydia Hoverson
 September 5, 2022
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A Former Captive’s Opinion 

lydia.hoverson@mydakotan.com  

MINOT – Among all the opinions of the Brittney Griner case, a former captive recently shared his at a conference in Minot. 

Minot Women Connect hosted an event with keynote speaker Sam Goodwin, an American entrepreneur and advocate for political hostages who was held captive in a Syrian prison in 2019. 

At the event, Goodwin was asked about his thoughts on Brittney Griner, an American professional basketball player who was recently sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for the possession of less than a gram of hashish oil, according to some reports.

Goodwin said the organization he works with, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation out of Washington D.C., is working on that exact case. 

“The nine-year sentence is a daunting but expected sentence,” said Goodwin. “It sort of closes this first chapter of her detention. It moves the entire case into the political space.” 

Goodwin said he believes the amount of time Griner spends in Russian prison will most likely depend on how long it takes for the United States and Russia to make a deal. 

“Unfortunately, these wrongful detentions and cases like this are situations where Americans are being used for some kind of political leverage or whatever it might be,” Goodwin continued. “This is a little bit of a growing issue around the world.” 

Goodwin said it is hard to know what will happen with this case. 

“There’s another American who’s being held there named Paul Whelan,” Goodwin explained. “They need a lot of prayers.” 

Goodwin, who has traveled to every country in the world, said the countries that are negatively perceived are the countries he had his best experiences. 

“In those places there’s instability, there’s very unfortunate things happening, but underneath all that, there’s a lot of other things happening too,” said Goodwin. “I think it’s important to go and understand them. I emphasize safety and being with the right people. But don’t totally avoid a certain place because there’s so much beauty and positivity even in these more negative places.” 

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