Russia frees Brittney Griner in a 1-for-1 prisoner swap

2 Mins read

After an agonizing ordeal that stems back to February 2022, WNBA star Brittney Griner is finally coming home. Griner was released on Thursday, December 8, in a prisoner swap for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The exchange was finalized within the last 48 hours after a window of opportunity for the final deal opened in recent weeks.

Earlier this year, Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport for accidentally bringing CBD vape cartridges into Russia. Though they were prescription medications, officials said they violated Russia’s ironclad zero drugs policy. In August, Griner was tried and found guilty of drug smuggling. She was given a nine-year sentence at one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies.

Griner’s release was also the result of mediation between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Per both nations, “The joint statement issued by the [Saudi Arabian and the UAE] ministries affirmed that the success of the mediation efforts is a reflection of the mutual and solid friendship that connects both countries with the United States of America and the Russian Federation.”

According to Russia’s foreign minister, the exchange between Griner and Bout took place at the al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Brittney Griner arrived on a private plane from Moscow, and Viktor Bout flew in from Washington, DC, also via a private airplane. Specialists from Saudi Arabia and the UAE were present to oversee the transfer.

Upon her arrival at the executive airport, Griner was greeted by United States officials, including Roger Carstens, a presidential envoy for hostage situations. The Olympian was “all smiles” and “grateful” before she boarded another plane at approximately 9 AM. This flight was the one that would bring her home.

USA Basketball celebrated the news on Twitter. Van Jones of CNN called Griner’s release the “result of a grassroots movement” and “a joyful moment for the Black women who led a movement to get one of their sisters home.”

Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle, was at the White House on Thursday. Standing beside President Joe Biden, she was beaming while thanking the president for his efforts in bringing her spouse home.

“So over the last nine months, you all have been so privy to one of the darkest moments of my life, and so today I’m just standing here overwhelmed with emotions, but the most important emotion that I have right now is just sincere gratitude for President Biden and his entire administration,” said Cherelle.

During the nightmarish ordeal, Biden praised Brittney Griner for her “grit and incredible integrity” and reassured the world, “Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones.”

It promises to be an emotional homecoming, indeed.


1528 posts

About author
DN News Desk is the editorial wing of Digital Nod, an award-winning digital PR & marketing agency. Committed to delivering timely and insightful news coverage of global events, DN News Desk's team of seasoned journalists and editors ensures that readers are well-informed about the latest developments across various domains. With a finger on the pulse of current affairs, DN News Desk strives to provide accurate, balanced, and thought-provoking articles that shed light on the ever-evolving global landscape. From breaking news to in-depth features, DN News Desk's contributions aim to empower readers with knowledge and perspectives that matter.
Related posts
EntertainmentFeaturedPeopleTrending News

Ovais Singstar Reimagines "Ve Kamleya" with "Mere Nadaan Dil"

1 Mins read
Rising star Ovais Singstar is making waves with his new release, “Mere Nadaan Dil” (My Innocent Heart). It’s a fresh take on…
Breaking NewsEntertainmentPeopleSocial MediaTrending News

Singer Ovais Singstar Grieves the Loss of His Father

1 Mins read
Pakistani singer Ovais Singstar, known for his popular hits like “Maine To Dhere Se” and “Main Chahun Tujhko,” is mourning the passing…
Breaking NewsEntertainmentPeopleSocial MediaTrending News

Ovais Singstar Releases Soulful Ballad "Dil Roya Re"

1 Mins read
Pakistani musician Ovais Singstar dropped his latest single, “Dil Roya Re” (The Heart Cries), on May 24th, 2024. This soulful ballad promises…