Brittney Griner Lands in the U.S.
Author: Trudy Ring
Brittney Griner is back in the USA.
The lesbian WNBA star landed at the U.S. Army’s Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas Friday after her 10-month detention in Russia, The New York Times reports. She was smiling as she left the plane.
Griner was released Thursday in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia, in which the U.S. freed convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner. She had been detained at a Russian airport in February because she had vape cartridges containing a small amount of cannabis oil in her luggage and was eventually sentenced to nine years in prison on drug-smuggling charges. She had recently been taken to a penal colony after losing an appeal of her sentence.
After landing, she was taken to the Brooke Army Medical Center for examination, and she will receive any treatment she needs there. “The U.S. government is focused on ensuring that Brittney Griner and her family’s well-being are prioritized and that all assistance available be offered in an appropriate manner,” said a statement from the medical center.
Griner had been going to Russia for several years to play for a team there during the WNBA’s off-season. In the WNBA, she is center for the Phoenix Mercury.
President Joe Biden said Thursday that he had spoken to Griner and confirmed that she was on her way home. He tweeted images of him with her wife, Cherelle Griner, in the Oval Office. The U.S. government had classified Brittney Griner as wrongly detained and had spent months negotiating for her release.
“The effort of working toward Brittney’s release has been going on since the first day she was detained,” Keisha Lance Bottoms, a senior adviser to Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, told The Advocate Thursday.“The success of negotiations was due to the fact that everyone who could contribute, and anyone who could help, from the National Security Council to our diplomatic corps, and to President Biden worked together to make this happen.”
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens tweeted a welcome to Griner Friday morning.
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring