Connect with us

Brittney Griner Has Been Released From Russian Jail After A Prisoner Swap


Brittney Griner Has Been Released From Russian Jail After A Prisoner Swap

Griner was released as part of a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

WNBA Player Brittney Griner has been released from prison in Russia & back to the United States. She had been detained since February when she was arrested at Moscow airport with vape cartridges of hashish oil in her luggage.

The arrest [pictured below] particularly took place just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. 

Brittney Griner Has Been Released From Russian Jail After A Prisoner Swap
via Telegram

As a two-time gold medal Olympian, & a Black gay woman, Griner was the most high-profile American detained overseas. 

President Joe Biden has, however, said at a news conference: “Griner is in good spirits and relieved to finally be heading home, but the past few months have been hell for her and her loved ones. The fact remains that she’s lost months of her life experiencing needless trauma.”

CNN and CBS alleged the basketball superstar was released as part of a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. 

Brittney Griner Has Been Released From Russian Jail After A Prisoner Swap
Getty Images

Biden added: “She [Griner] deserves space, privacy and time with her loved ones to recover and heal from her time being wrongfully detained.” The US President had stood with VP Kamala Harris and Cherelle Griner, who thanked the Biden administration and everyone else who worked to secure her wife’s release. 

Cherelle said at the conference: “Today is just a happy day for me and my family, so I’m going to smile right now.” 

She added that she and her wife “will remain committed to work of getting every American home, including Paul whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate BG being home.” Cherelle continued: “Today my family is whole, but as you all are aware, there are so many other families that are not whole.”

The swap, as per CNN, took place at Abu Dhabi International Airport. 

Brittney Griner Has Been Released From Russian Jail After A Prisoner Swap
Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP via Getty Images

Bout has been given the nickname the ‘Merchant of Death’ due to being one of the biggest arms dealers of the 90s. He was arrested in 2008 as part of a US sting. On the other hand, Paul Whelan, an ex-Marine got detained in 2018. He was sentenced to 16 years after being accused of being an American spy, a claim his family has said is untrue. 

In his speech, Biden admitted the swap for Griner wasn’t a choice about which American to bring home. 

He stated: “Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittany’s. And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up – we will never give up.” Before her release, Griner had recently been transformed into a Russian penal colony to begin her nine-year sentence.

Griner’s agent and Wasserman EVP Lindsay Colas have said in a statement they are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Biden administration for bringing the athlete back home. 

Colas said: “It’s through hardship that character is revealed, and over the last nine months, we have seen the best of so many. At the top of that list are BG and President Biden. Throughout this ordeal, BG has carried herself with courage, grace and grit; and President Biden made us a promise, and then kept his word and did what was necessary to bring her home.” 

Paul Whelan’s brother, David also said in a statement to CBS News he’s so glad to hear of the release and that the family does not begrudge Ms. Griner her freedom.

“The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen,” he wrote. It’s unknown if Paul has heard the news, but it’s said they can’t fathom how he will feel. “His hopes had soared with the knowledge the US government was taking concrete steps towards his release,” David added.

Paul’s family is devastated and David has called on the US government to be more assertive in bringing home wrongfully imprisoned Americans. 

David further said of Paul: “He’d been worrying about where he’d live when he got back to the US. And now what? How do you continue to survive, day after day, when you know that your government has failed twice to free you from a foreign prison? I can’t imagine he retains any hope that a government will negotiate his freedom at his point.” 

Before arriving in the US, Biden had taken to Twitter and wrote: “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home,” alongside pics of Griner’s wife, Cherelle in the Oval Office. 

Continue Reading

Joseph Temitope Victoria, nicknamed ‘Temmie,’ is a GreenLemon Author and Content Creator. After her studies at Olabisi Onabanjo University, where she got a B.Sc. degree in Geography and Regional Planning, Temitope worked as Journalist with a specialization in Business and Economy. Temitope also holds an M.Sc. degree in Population and Manpower Planning, and interestingly she’s a self-taught poem writer. She owns a website ‘TemmiesAnthology’ and has spent nearly 6years writing on several niches. Whenever there’s free time, she spends it editing books – one of her newest is ‘In His Green Book’ by Terence A. Asitibasi. Temitope can certainly do whatever she sets her mind on.

More in Celebrity

To Top