BREAKING NEWS: WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner Released By Russian Officials
US Government Organizes A Prisoner Swap That Allows Griner To Head Back To United States Soil
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -According to various national media outlets, WNBA all-star Brittney Griner, who was held for months in Russian prisons on alleged drug charges, was released earlier today on an airstrip located in the United Arab Emirates. According to sources, Griner’s release was a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The one-for-one exchange agreement negotiated with Moscow in recent weeks was given final approval by President Biden within just the last week, according to sources familiar with the deal.
A White House official said President Biden was in the Oval Office this morning on the phone, speaking with Griner and her wife, and that Vice President Kamala Harris was also in the room. Per standard procedure for freed U.S. prisoners, Griner was expected to quickly undergo a medical evaluation.
To secure Griner’s release, the president ordered Bout to be freed and returned to Russia. Mr. Biden signed the commutation order cutting short Bout’s 25-year federal prison sentence.
Retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan remains imprisoned in Russia. Whelan has been in Russian custody for nearly four years on alleged espionage charges.
Griner was detained at a Russian airport in February and later pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the discovery of cannabis-derived oil cartridges in her luggage.
President Biden is expected to make an official announcement later today offering more details on Griner’s release.
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