WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia earlier this year and imprisoned for 10 months on drug charges, has been set free after Russia and the U.S. agreed to a prisoner swap, CBS News reports.
The one-for-one prisoner swap took place in the United Arab Emirates and saw Griner’s release traded for the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was ten years into serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.
“She’s on her way home, after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances,” the president said alongside Griner’s wife Cherelle, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and she should have been there all along. This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release.”
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home. pic.twitter.com/FmHgfzrcDT
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
Griner, who for years has played pro basketball in Russia during the WNBA off-season, was arrested in March after Russian customs officials at the border discovered vape cartridges said to contain cannabis oil in her luggage. Ultimately pleading guilty to the charges, she was given a nine-year prison sentence at a Russian penal colony in August.
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