Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner released in prisoner swap with Russia

Olympic gold medal Brittney Griner was released from prison in Russia and was on his way home on Thursday, President Joe Biden said at the White House.
US agrees to release imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor’s feverIn a prisoner swap, Biden said, ending nearly 10 months of detention for Griner.
“A while ago I talked to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on the plane. She’s on her way home,” Biden said. “Hold in unbearable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and where she should have been all this time. This is a day we have been working towards for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release. There should be tough and intense negotiations.”
From Russia, Griner, 32, landed in the United Arab Emirates, where she boarded a plane to the United States.
“The past few months have been hell for Brittney and (wife) Cherelle,” Biden said. “She is relieved to finally be home. The truth is that she has lost many months of her life. She deserves space, privacy and time with her loved ones to recover. restore and heal.”
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and active WNBA player with the Phoenix Mercury, grinder was detained at an airport near Moscow on February 17. She admitted in the courtroom to carrying a canister of cannabis vape in her luggage as ordered by a doctor.
“She wrote me in July, she didn’t ask for special treatment,” Biden said. “She asked for a simple statement, ‘Please don’t forget about me and the other incarcerated Americans. Please do all you can to get us home.’ We have never forgotten Brittney.”
Griner was found guilty of criminal drug possession and sentenced to more than nine years in prison. Last month, Russian officials informed Griner’s attorney that she had been transferred to a penal colony, where forced labor shifts for prisoners typically lasted 12 to 14 hours a day.
Griner’s release was negotiated for several months. Russia’s deputy foreign minister announced that there had been new “activity” in the negotiations to free Griner a week before Thanksgiving. The United States publicly denies those talks are taking place.
In the initial public disclosures of the negotiations, US officials insisted on the release of Michigan company security officer Paul Whelan, who has been jailed since December 2018 in Russia with espionage charges. But the White House described Thursday’s confirmed prisoner exchange as “one-for-one,” Bout for Griner.
Bout is a former Soviet Army lieutenant who was sentenced in 2012 to 25 years for conspiring to sell tens of millions of dollars in weapons that US officials said were used against Americans.
Along with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House, Cherelle Griner gratefully thanked the administration for their efforts and pledged to do future work to help bring home those mistakenly detained prisoners. .
“BG is not here to say this, but I am happy to say on her behalf that BG and I will continue to be committed to the work of giving every American a home, including Paul, who have family in our hearts today,” she said. “…We understand that there are still people here who are going through what I’ve suffered over the past nine months as I miss their loved ones so much.”
Words of support for Griner began circulating on Twitter Thursday morning from her fellow WNBA players.
Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart said: “BG is FREE!!! 294 days and she’s going home!!!”
The 2022 WNBA season begins on May 19.


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