Brittney Griner is coming residence. The WNBA star, 31, has been launched from a Russian penal colony, President Joe Biden confirmed.
“Moments in the past, I spoke to Brittney Griner,” Biden, 80, tweeted on Thursday, December 8, alongside pictures of himself with Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, and Vice President Kamala Harris within the Oval Workplace. “She is secure. She is on a aircraft. She is on her manner residence,” he added.
The Biden administration negotiated the athlete’s launch in change for convicted arms vendor Viktor Bout.
In a press convention in a while Thursday, the president stated that he by no means stopped “pushing” for Griner’s freedom. “This can be a day we’ve work in the direction of for a very long time,” Biden instructed reporters. “It took intense negotiations and I need to thank all of the hardworking public servants throughout my administration who labored tirelessly to safe her launch.”
Griner’s change happened within the United Arab Emirates, who the pinnacle of state additionally thanked. “These previous few months have been hell for Brittney and Cherelle,” Biden continued. “Folks all throughout the nation have discovered about Brittney’s story and advocated for her launch and stood along with her all through this horrible ordeal, and I do know that help meant rather a lot to her household. I’m glad to have the ability to say that Brittney is in good spirits and relieved to lastly be heading residence.”
Tune in as I ship an essential announcement. https://t.co/2BVdSsmIFA
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
Biden added: “[Brittney] represents one of the best about America. She wrote to me again in July, she didn’t ask for particular therapy, however requested a easy quote, ‘Please don’t overlook about me and the opposite American detainees. Please do all you possibly can to deliver us residence.’ We by no means forgot about Brittney.”
He then handed the microphone to Cherelle, who expressed gratitude over her spouse’s launch. “I’m simply standing right here overwhelmed with feelings. Crucial emotion that I’ve proper now’s honest gratitude for President Biden and his whole administration … Right this moment my household is entire — however as you all are conscious, there’s so many households that aren’t entire. [Brittney] and I’ll stay dedicated to the work of getting each American residence.”
The Texas native’s launch comes after a decide discovered Griner responsible of making an attempt to illegally smuggle narcotics into Russia after authorities discovered vape canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on February 17. (She was within the nation to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg through the WNBA low season.)
On August 4, she was sentenced to 9 years of jail time and a positive of 1 million rubles (roughly $16,400), in accordance with CNN. On the time, Griner had already been in custody for months.
Information of the athlete’s detention was not made public till a number of weeks later.