After ten months of forced detainment in Russia, Brittney Griner, WBNA star, is free. Griner’s arrest occurred in February 2022 when she was found with hasheesh oil while going through airport security in Moscow. The arrest came just as the Russian war on Ukraine began.
This morning, President Biden made a statement from the Roosevelt room, “Moments ago, standing together with her wife, Cherelle, in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner…She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances.”
On August 7th, Brittney Griner received a nine years prison sentence and was sent to a labor camp in November. Her imprisonment sparked outrage among Americans, and cries for the Biden administration to negotiate her freedom grew with each passing month.
However, Griner’s release comes as a swap for an American-held Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout.
Bout has been in captivity since 2008, after his arrest in a sting operation by the DEA. A known gunrunner and partner to terrorist organizations, Bout has a history of supplying weapons to violent dictatorships, radical terrorist groups, and warlords across the globe, including Al-Queda and the Taliban.
In 2011, Bout was put on trial and was found guilty of four counts:
- Conspiracy to Kill U.S. Nationals
- Conspiracy to Kill Officers of the U.S.
- Conspiracy to Acquire and Use Antiaircraft Missiles
- Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Terrorist Organization
Now, Brittney Griner and Bout are free, and plans are laid for them to head home to their respective countries.