Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner launched in prisoner swap with Russia


Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner was free of jail in Russia and on her approach residence Thursday, President Joe Biden mentioned on the White Home.
America agreed to launch imprisoned Russian arms seller Viktor Bout, Biden mentioned, in a swap of prisoners that ends practically 10 months of detainment for Griner.
“Moments in the past I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is secure. She is on a aircraft. She is on her approach residence,” Biden mentioned. “Held beneath insupportable circumstances, Brittney will quickly be again within the arms of her family members and she or he ought to have been there all alongside. This can be a day we labored towards for a very long time. We by no means stopped pushing for her launch. It took painstaking and intense negotiations.”
From Russia, Griner, 32, landed within the United Arab Emirates, the place she boarded a aircraft for the USA.
“These previous few months have been hell for Brittney and (spouse) Cherelle,” Biden mentioned. “She’s relieved to lastly be heading residence. The very fact stays she’s misplaced months of her life. She deserves area, privateness and time along with her family members to get better and heal.”
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and energetic WNBA participant with the Phoenix Mercury, Griner was detained at an airport close to Moscow on February 17. She admitted in a courtroom to bringing marijuana vape cartridges in her baggage, as prescribed by her physician.
“She wrote to me again in July, she did not ask for particular therapy,” Biden mentioned. “She requested a easy quote, ‘Please do not forget about me and the opposite American detainees. Please do all you may to carry us residence.’ We have by no means forgotten about Brittney.”
Griner was convicted of prison drug possession and sentenced to greater than 9 years in jail. Final month, Russian officers knowledgeable Griner’s legal professional she had been relocated to a penal colony, the place pressured labor shifts for prisoners generally final between 12 and 14 hours per day.
The deal to free Griner had been negotiated for a number of months. Russia’s deputy overseas minister claimed that there was renewed “exercise” in negotiations to free Griner one week earlier than Thanksgiving. The US publicly denied these talks had been energetic.
In preliminary public disclosures about negotiations, U.S .officers insisted on the discharge of Michigan company safety officer Paul Whelan, jailed since December 2018 in Russia on espionage expenses. However the White Home described the prisoner swap confirmed Thursday as “one for one,” Bout for Griner.
Bout is a former Soviet Military lieutenant was sentenced in 2012 to 25 years for conspiring to promote tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in arms that U.S. officers mentioned had been used in opposition to Individuals.
Flanked by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the White Home, a grateful Cherelle Griner thanked their administration for his or her efforts and dedicated to future work to assist carry residence wrongly detained prisoners.
“B.G. isn’t right here to say this, however I’ll gladly converse on her behalf and say that B.G. and I’ll stay dedicated to the work of getting each American residence, together with Paul, whose household is in our hearts at this time,” she mentioned. “… We do perceive that there are nonetheless individuals out right here who’re enduring what I endured the final 9 months of lacking tremendously their family members.”
Phrases of help for Griner started to move on Twitter Thursday morning from her fellow WNBA gamers.
Mentioned Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart: “BG is FREE!!! 294 days and she or he is coming residence!!!”
The 2022 WNBA season begins Might 19.



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