Fans and supporters of WNBA star athlete BRITTNEY GRINER are overjoyed today after the basketball player was released from her Russian prison after a 10 month ordeal. Griner was arrested February 17, 2022 at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow after security officials found vape cartridges in her luggage that still contained hashish oil in them.
Griner who was leaving Russia after spending her off-season from the Phoenix Mercury playing for a Russian basketball team, was held for months in a Russian jail before her trial and conviction this summer where she was sentenced to nine years in prison.
President Joe Biden’s administration has been working for months on obtaining a release for Griner and today they announced they had worked out a prisoner exchange to get her back on U.S. soil. Griner was exchanged for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout a.k.a. “Merchant of Death.” The president spoke to Griner this morning and issued a statement she was on a plane headed for the U.S.
The reaction to this deal has been mostly one of joy with LGBTQ+ groups especially thankful for Griner’s release. The Human Rights Campaign was one of many groups to issue a statement:
Human Rights Campaign Celebrates WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner’s Release & Imminent Return to United States
Biden administration negotiation for release of wrongfully-held prisoner Brittney Griner leads to celebration among LGBTQ+ community
WASHINGTON —Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released the following statement regarding the recent release of wrongfully detained WNBA superstar Brittney Griner:
“The wait is over. Brittney Griner is coming home, and not a moment too soon,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. “Brittney is so much more than a WNBA superstar and Olympian, she is an American hero who had undergone unfathomable hardship. After being wrongfully held for 294 days away from her home, her friends, and most importantly her family, we celebrate her release. The HRC family is grateful for the State Department’s efforts to free her – and to any member of our community facing hate and extremism – your community will never stop fighting for you, just like we never stopped fighting for Brittney.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.