On Thursday, multiple reports indicated that Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was released from prison in Russia in exchange for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who was imprisoned in American prison.
Griner’s release comes after she was arrested and convicted in Russia for drug smuggling. To be clear, she only brought vape cartridges of hashish oil, and a very small amount, two grams total. Griner was ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison.
The 2022 WNBA season was dedicated to Griner where players and other officials advocated for her release, including the Washington Mystics.
Bout was in American prison for about 10 years where he was serving a 25-year sentence for illegal arms dealing.
The American government was trying to get Griner and Paul Whelan, a Marine in prison for espionage in a prison exchange. Whelan was not released in this particular swap but negotiations are ongoing regarding his case.
We are glad to see Griner come back home in time for the holiday season.