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Who Is WNBA Star Brittney Griner Released From Russian Prison?

Brittney Griner is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association, and she was detained in Russia after customs claimed to find hashish oil in her luggage.

Griner was sentenced in August 2022, after pleading guilty to smuggling charges, according to reports but explained, with documents, that the hash oil was legally prescribed by her US doctor for pain management. She was later transferred to the Russian penal colony IK-2, which is a women’s prison.

Announcing her release, US President Joe Biden said that she was on a plane home and that she had been held under intolerable conditions. He was with Griner’s wife Cherelle, who she had married in 2019.

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The larger part of the Brittney Griner story is that her release was secured after the US agreed to also release a prisoner of interest, convicted Russian arms trader Viktor Bout.

Biden’s administration reportedly attempted to secure Griner’s release through other means that didn’t involve a prisoner swap but all to no avail. The reasoning behind that being that it could encourage more governments to find reasons to jail Americans living abroad and attempt to swap them for their citizens who are in American prisons.

Brittney Griner made history as the only NCAA basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. Then, she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award and AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in 2012. She is part of the team that won gold medals at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020 and that the World Cup in 2014 and 2018.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.