Brittney Griner Is Free - DMT NEWS

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Brittney Griner Is Free

WNBA star Brittney Griner was released to the United States in a prisoner swap Thursday, U.S. officials said, ending her 294-day ordeal in Russian custody. 

U.S. officials confirmed to multiple media outlets that they secured Griner’s release in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer. President Joe Biden reportedly signed off on the deal within the last week. 

Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in August, is back in U.S. custody, American officials told CBS News.  Biden is set to speak at the White House to announce the deal Thursday morning, according to CBS News. Paul Whelan, a former Marine convicted of spying in Russia, was reportedly not part of the deal.

Griner was first detained in February at Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport for having less than a gram of weed oil in her luggage. Her detainment  preceded Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine by just two weeks, complicating her overseas incarceration considerably. Griner pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession and smuggling, explaining that she had a prescription for the drug from her doctor back home in Arizona, and had mistakenly packed them for her trip.

She remained in custody for seven months before she was finally sentenced to nine years in prison, just a year shy of the maximum for these charges. An effort to appeal the harsh sentence in October was denied.

Last month, she was sent to the remote, all female penal colony IK-2 in Mordovia, a former Lenin-era gulag notorious for its harsh conditions and subjecting its prisoners to abhorrent labor practices.



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Trone Dowd, Khareem Sudlow