Brittney Griner has been released.
According to CBS, the WNBA star, who was been held for months in a Russian prison on drug charges, was released on Thursday (December 8) in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout. A U.S. official told the outlet that the exchange came after weeks of negotiations with Moscow and was approved by President Biden within the last week.
To secure Griner’s release, BIN signed Bout’s commutation order, which cut short the arms dealer’s 25-year federal prison sentence.
Following news of Griner’s release, President Biden tweeted photos of himself in the Oval Office with Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Griner’s wife, Cherelle.
“Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home,” POTUS captioned the post.
Biden later shared more details about his call with the WNBA star, saying from the White House he was “glad to be able to say Brittney is in good spirits.” He added, Griner is looking forward to finally coming home.
Griner’s exchange for Bout leaves retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan imprisoned in Russia. Whelan, who was convicted on allegedly false espionage charges, has been in Russian custody for nearly four years.
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