Now Reading
HOMEWARD BOUND: Biden Administration brokers deal to free Brittney Griner

HOMEWARD BOUND: Biden Administration brokers deal to free Brittney Griner

HOMEWARD BOUND: Biden Administration brokers deal to free Brittney Griner

WNBA star Britney Griner has been freed after nearly a year in Russia, where she was imprisoned for possession of cannabis vape cartridges.

The Biden Administration has been working for her release since her arrest in February, and secured it through a prisoner trade deal.

Griner was prescribed medical marijuana in Arizona, and at her trial in July, pled guilty but explained that she had no intent to break the law, but had packed the cartridges by accident in her haste.

Despite this, she was sentenced to nine years, during a period when U.S. and Russia relations were particularly rocky as the Biden Administration imposed sanctions in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The U.S. was able to work out a deal by releasing into Russian custody arms dealer Viktor Bout, a move that Republicans, including the former president, have criticized.

Donald Trump appeared on a right-wing radio show in August, before the deal was finalized, to complain that Griner went into the country “loaded up with drugs” and that she is “possibly spoiled” and suggest the trade should not go through.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, joined Biden at a press conference to share her gratitude and her hope for other families suffering similar circumstances to also be reunited.

In particular, the case of Paul Whelan, a Marine imprisoned in Russia on charges of espionage, has been touted by conservatives as a reason to condemn Griner’s release, as they argue he should have been a higher priority — but his family has also expressed support for Griner’s release.

Reuters reports:

“I am so glad that Brittney Griner is on her way home,” [Whelan’s brother David] said. “The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”

Biden explained in his press conference that Russia is treating Whelan’s case differently, and that his Administration in continuing to work to secure his release as well.

You can watch Biden’s presentation, and Cherelle Griner’s comments, in the clip below.

It’s a stark contrast from the words of the former president, who argued in recent months against bringing home an American citizen sentenced so disproportionately to her alleged crime.

Listen to his remarks, calling her “spoiled” and exaggerating the allegations, below:

The prisoner swap was made at a UAE airport, and Griner is at last on her way home, where she can begin the long journey of healing from the trauma of her experience.

Stephanie Bazzle
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here:

© 2022 Occupy Democrats. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top