Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was sentenced to prison in Russia, has been freed in a prisoner-swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor “Merchant of Death” Bout, and is now in US custody on a plane headed home.
Griner was arrested in Russia on Feb. 17 for possession of vape cartridges containing hash oil. Griner had been serving her nine year sentence in a Russian penal colony.
President Joe Biden announced Griner’s release on Twitter, writing: “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement in response to Griner’s release.
“I am heartened that Brittney Griner is coming home and grateful to all who worked tirelessly for her release. She was unfairly treated as a political pawn by Russian authorities. It’s a real relief for her family and friends who were also suffering due to the nature of her detainment.
“The Biden Administration will continue working to bring home other Americans who have been wrongfully detained by the Russian government. I support those efforts and will continue pressing for the safe return of our citizens.”
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