BREAKING NEWS / CELEBRITY Brittney Griner Released From Russia Detention Center: “Safe and on Her Way Home”
Brittney Griner is released! The family of Brittney Griner can finally start moving towards peace today as it was revealed that the WNBA star is on her way home. Griner has been detained in Russia for much of the year and was facing a grueling nine-year sentence in their atrocious system. The U.S. government has been working hard to secure her release, and today we finally got the announcement that she is on her way home. Brittney Griner Released From Russia Detention Center: “Safe and on Her Way Home”
Things were looking grim for the Griner family only a month ago, after Brittney was handed the maximum sentence of nine years in connection to “smuggling items into Russia,” despite it being a prescription she obtained legally in Arizona. Her wife, Cherelle Griner, spoke to Gayle King and updated the world on how low things had gotten for Brittney and how she was really losing hope. Things got even scarier when it was reported that Griner’s legal team was no longer in touch with the athlete and that she had been transported somewhere off the radar to serve her sentence.
Singer Maria Alyokhina had served time in one of the harsh facilities in Russia and opened up about the conditions and what Griner could be experiencing. ” It is a labor camp,” she revealed to NPR. She said they kept over 100 women in a barracks with three toilets and no hot water. She called the conditions “inhuman.” President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been working with Russian officials to ensure Griner’s release, and we finally got word today that she was let go in exchange for a Russian arms dealer that was in U.S. custody.
Biden says he spoke with Griner hours ago and that she is safe and on a plane. “She will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along,” he said. Many believe that the Russian officials were using Griner as a pawn and are still holding onto another U.S. citizen, Paul Whelan. Whelan is a former U.S. Marine who was arrested for allegedly spying on Russia in 2018.
Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle, was photographed in the Oval Office with President Biden and expressed her deep gratitude for his help in securing her wife’s release. Griner will be transported first to a medical facility in San Antonio, where she will be evaluated and receive care. NBC News calls Griner’s release “the most high-profile prisoner swaps between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War.”
Griner was swapped for Viktor Bout, a Russian prisoner who served 11 years of a 25-year sentence in the United States before being released to Vladimir Putin today. Some have called the exchange a “bad deal,” believing that the president just “incentivized bad actors like Russia and North Korea to arrest more Americans to be used as bargaining chips.”
Others are upset that he could not arrange for Whelan’s release as well, considering he’s been in Russian custody a lot longer. Most feel like Griner’s case became too high profile and forced the U.S. hand in making a decision quickly.