Britteny Griner, who was held in a Russian prison for marijuana possession, is now being flown back to US territory following the Department of Justice’s prisoner swap. Multiple criticisms have come from the public regarding Griner’s conviction, but since the legalization of purchasing and consuming marijuana government officials decided to prioritize getting the young basketball player out of Russian authorities as soon as they could.
Griner is being swapped with the convicted arms trafficker known as Viktor Bout, who was serving 25 years in an American prison for conspiracy to kill Americans, and provide support to an unknown terrorist organization. The public’s been nagging Biden and his administration for their lack of celerity regarding Brittney’s release, especially considering the treatment she had faced while captive. She faced dealing with racism and homophobia throughout her stay, along with 16-hour work days for the 10 months she has been detained.
Griner’s appeal to the Moscow court took place in October via video, only to be declined on the 25th. Griner’s lawyers, Alexander Boykov and Maria Blagovolina, responded to the loss expressing their disappointment, adding, “The punishment is excessive and contradicts to the existing court practice.”
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home. pic.twitter.com/FmHgfzrcDT
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
Now, her team along with President Joe Biden are glad to confirm that the star player is currently on her way home, to be in the custody of the American government. Her wife, Cherelle Griner met with the Administration during Griner’s transfer. “Today my family is whole again,” she said in response to the successful efforts with reference to her wife’s release.
Biden noted the importance of this victory by mentioning the swapping of prisoners overseas is not an easy task. “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 conditions,” Biden announced. At the end of their statement another Paul Whelan was mentioned. Whelan is another US citizen and former Marine who was wrongfully detained on espionage charges by Russian authorities. Efforts are still being made toward his release from his captivity.
By Jada Strong, Freshman, Whitney Young Magnet High School
Twitter / Instagram: @JadaStrongg