Biden Announces Brittney Griner Is Released From Prison In Russia, Swapped For International Arms Dealer
The basketball star was originally sentenced to nine years.
December 08, 2022 at 8:46 pm
After being detained in a Russian prison for nearly 10 months, Brittney Griner is on her way home. In breaking news on Dec. 8, President Joe Biden announced that Griner was released.
As Blavity previously reported, Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow. She was detained for attempting to bring vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil through the airport. During court proceedings, she claimed she had been prescribed the oil for pain management and accidentally packed it. The WNBA player traveled to the country to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a women’s basketball league.
On Aug. 4, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in July. After her appeal was rejected, the Russian government followed through on her sentence in October, and she was transferred to a penal colony the following month. Her detainment gained national outrage; it was seen as unjust and possibly discriminatory.
The American government began negotiating the release of Griner shortly after her detainment.
CBS News reports the release was granted after President Joe Biden approved the one-for-one prisoner swap in exchange for international arms dealer Viktor Bout. The outlet mentioned the “swap” took place last week in the United Arab Emirates.