Brittney Griner’s time in a Russian prison is finally over.
According to President Joe Biden, Brittney Griner has been freed after a successful prisoner swap with convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout who was found guilty of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization in 2011. Biden assured everyone that Griner’s on her way home after being imprisoned in Russia for almost a year.
“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” Biden said at the White House Thursday morning alongside Griner’s wife, Cherelle. “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.”
Unfortunately, the swap did not include Paul Whelan, an ex-U.S. marine who was sentenced to a 16-year prison sentence, despite the U.S. saying he was wrongfully detained. Biden acknowledged that Griner’s freedom must be tough to see for his family.
“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.”
Biden assured everyone Griner would be stateside within 24 hours, and the administration continues to keep contact with Whelan’s family in hopes of securing his freedom.
When Biden addressed the media, he was alongside Griner’s wife, Cherelle, who thanked the administration for freeing her and said she was “overwhelmed with emotions.”
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