Brittney Griner released from prison after prisoner trafficking – Hollywood Life +2023

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After a Russian court found Brittney Griner guilty of drug offenses, President Joe Biden vowed that his government would “work tirelessly and take every possible route” to bring them home. These efforts have paid off. On December 8, 2022, the Associated Press confirmed that Brittney would receive her release as part of a prisoner swap with Russia. US releases Russian arms dealers Victor fight in exchange for the release of Brittney.

President Biden also confirmed Brittney’s safe release on Twitter. “I was talking to Brittney Griner earlier,” he wrote. “She’s safe. She’s on an airplane. She’s on her way home.” He also posted photos with Brittney’s wife, who was with the President and Vice President, Kamala Harriswhen the prisoner’s release was confirmed.

Prior to Britney’s sentencing, there were talks that she was involved in a prisoner swap. Reports claimed the US was ready to trade Victor fighta convicted Russian arms dealer, for Brittney and former Marine Paul Whelan. Whelan, now a corporate security executive, was arrested in December 2018 on espionage charges (Whelan has pleaded innocent). He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in June 2020. On August 5, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia is “ready to discuss this issue” of a trade, according to Axios.

Ahead of her trial, the US State Department listed Britney as “wrongfully detained,” a term President Biden used in his statement following her sentencing. “Today, American citizen Britney Griner was sentenced to prison, which is another reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongly holding Britney,” he said in his statement.

The drama began on February 17 when Brittney was arrested at Moscow Airport. The basketball star traveled to the country to play for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason and was taken into custody after authorities accused her of drug smuggling. Brittney reportedly had less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. She would eventually say that she accidentally packed the vape cartridges in her luggage because she was in a hurry to catch her flight. Russia held Griner for months pending her July 1 trial.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Shutterstock

Griner pleaded guilty to drug offenses and hoped for leniency from the court. “Given the nature of her case, the insignificant amount of substance and [Griner’s] Personality and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes the lawsuit will be considered by the court as a mitigating circumstance and there will be no severe penalty,” her attorneys said in a statement per CNN. Her attorneys also noted that Britney’s samples showed no trace of drugs.

The Russian courts eventually sentenced her to nine years. “We are very disappointed with the verdict. As jurists, we believe the court should be fair to everyone, regardless of nationality,” her lawyers said in a statement per CNN. “The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense and especially the guilty plea. This contradicts existing legal practice. Given the amount of substance (not to mention the flaws in the report) and the plea, the verdict is utterly unreasonable. We will definitely appeal.”

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