Brittney Griner Is Coming Home

"Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along," announced President Biden.

Brittney Griner is finally free. On Thursday, Dec. 8, President Joe Biden announced that the American basketball player has been released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Cherelle Griner President Biden White House Press Conference Brittney Griner Freed

Getty Images

“I spoke with Brittany Griner,” President Biden said at the White House alongside Griner’s wife, Cherelle 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, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.”

Biden added that the swap wasn’t without tiring work from his administration. “This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release.”

The president also confirmed that the athlete should be home with her loved ones in the next 24 hours. Cherelle Griner thanked Biden for all his efforts in bringing her wife back to the U.S. in a statement, adding that she is “overwhelmed with emotions.”

Cherelle Griner President Biden White House Press Conference Brittney Griner Freed

Getty Images

According to CNN, Griner has been detained since February after being arrested for drug smuggling when cannabis oil was found in her luggage. She was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony in Mordovia republic in August — despite her testimony stating that the possession had been an accident.

Another U.S. citizen Paul Whelan remains imprisoned as Russia would not release him as a part of the trade. “This was not a choice of which American to bring home,” Biden said. “Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s. And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up. We will never give up.”

Cherelle Griner added that she and Brittney “will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today.”

Related Articles