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Released Russian prisoner with ties to Fresno tells media she’s suffering from PTSD

Fresno Bee 12/23/2022 Joshua Tehee, The Fresno Bee

Sarah Krivanek is suffering from PTSD and was hospitalized upon her return to the United States.

She is working with a trauma specialist.

In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, the 46-year-old English teacher and former Fresnan shared new details about her nearly year-long detention in a Russian prison, including an alleged assault by a male inmate in retaliation for speaking up about conditions in the penal colony.

This was the first nationally televised interview with Krivanek since she was deported from Russia on Dec. 8.

She spoke about the political timing of her arrest and how her case was overshadowed by the arrest of another American — basketball star Brittney Griner.

The two cases are intertwined.

The WNBA star was arrested just days after Krivanek and released on the same day, as part of a prison swap negotiated by the federal government.

Krivanek was not part of that deal and her arrest was never classified as wrongfully detained, according to ABC News. She has been portrayed in media reports as “the forgotten American,” a feeling that followed her home.

“It feels like my patriotism, my citizenship to my own country meant absolutely nothing,” she told ABC news.

“They might as well have left me there.”

Krivanek was arrested at an airport in Moscow in 2021 while trying to leave the country, according to People, which has written extensively about the case. The arrest stemmed from a prior domestic dispute in which Krivanek had cut a man with whom she said she’d had an abusive relationship. According to People, the man later withdrew any charges and Krivanek was told not to leave Moscow.

She believes her arrest and that of Griner were politically motivated and that they were both being used as leverage by the Russian government in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine.

“Because they were preparing to go to war with Ukraine, I became somebody on their radar,” she told ABC News.

“If this situation would have happened at an earlier time or a different time in history, I wouldn’t have been sentenced at all.”

©2022 The Fresno Bee. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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