Brittney Griner’s time in Chinese captivity has finally come to an end. The basketball star has been in Russian custody since February, when a small amount of cannibis oil was found in her luggage. For that crime, bringing illegal drugs into the country, Griner was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison.
The United States and Russia agreed on a prisoner trade.
The U.S receives:
- Brittney Griner, 7x WNBA All-Star, 2 x DPOY
- Viktor Bout, International weapons dealer
According to a statement from Russia’s foreign ministry, Griner ws exchanged Thursday at Abu Dhabi International Airport in exchange for Viktor Bout. At a news conference, President Joe Biden confirmed the swap had occurred.
Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones. I’m glad to be able to say that Brittney’s in good spirits. She’s relieved to finally be heading home.President Joe Biden
Chenelle Griner, Brittney’s spouse said she felt “overwhelmed by emotions.” She said it was “just a happy day for me and my family” and acknowledged “there are so many other families that are not whole.”
One of those incomplete families is that of Paul Whelan, a corporate security exec who has been incarcerated in Russia since December 2018 on espionage charges.