WNBA star Brittney Griner has appealed her sentence, more members of Congress arrived in Taiwan despite China’s ongoing threats, and Iran justified last week’s attack on author Salman Rushdie. These are the top headlines for Monday morning, Aug. 15, 2022.
Brittney Griner appeals sentence – Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner filed an appeal against her drug possession sentence in Russian court. Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison earlier this month.
The appeal came as a senior Russian diplomat confirmed a potential prisoner swap that may include Griner is being discussed with U.S. officials.
“This quite sensitive issue of the swap of convicted Russian and U.S. citizens is being discussed through the channels defined by our presidents,” Alexander Darchiev, head of the Foreign Ministry’s North America department, told state news agency Tass. “These individuals are, indeed, being discussed. The Russian side has long been seeking the release of Viktor Bout. The details should be left to professionals.”
Congressional members arrive in Taiwan – Two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan, five more members of Congress have landed on the island despite ongoing Chinese tensions in the territory. The delegation, led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), met with Taiwan’s president.
“Their visit at this time is of great significance, because the Chinese military exercise is to deter U.S. congressmen from visiting Taiwan,” Taiwanese lawmaker Lo Chih-Cheng said. “Their visit also proves that China cannot stop politicians from any country to visit Taiwan, and it also conveys an important message that the American people stand with the Taiwanese people.”
In response, China announced a new set of military drills in the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan.
“China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing Monday. “A handful of U.S. politicians, in collusion with the separatist forces of Taiwan independence, are trying to challenge the one-China principle, which is out of their depth and doomed to failure.”
Iran responds to Salman Rushdie stabbing – An Iranian government official has denied involvement in the stabbing attack of Salman Rushdie but has justified the violence against the author. Rushdie was ambushed on stage Friday in New York at the Chautauqua Institution.
“Regarding the attack against Salman Rushdie in America we don’t consider anyone deserving reproach, blame or even condemnation, except for [Rushdie] himself and his supporters,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Monday. “Salman Rushdie exposed himself to popular anger and fury through insulting the sacred matters of Islam and trespassing red lines of over 1.5 billion Muslims, and also red lines of followers of all divine religions.”
An Islamic order has stood for more than 30 years calling for Rushdie to be killed. Rushdie is an outspoken critic of religious extremism.
Rushdie’s family said the author suffered from life-changing injuries but is on the road to recovery.