Steph Curry, NBA superstar, celebrated Brittney’s release from a Russian Penal colony on Thursday. He also thanked President Biden “being part of this fight”.
Griner, a WNBA star, was released from a Russian penal colony after the Biden White House was able to reach a deal with the Kremlin on a prisoner swap.
Griner was held in Russia on drug charges and was released to the USA in exchange for Viktor Bout, an arms dealer.
Brittney Griner was released from a Russian penal colony in a prisoner swap on Thursday
Steph Curry, NBA superstar, celebrated Griner’s release and praised President Joe Biden
The 32-year-old was facing nine years in a Russian penal colony, where she was expected to toil in sweatshop conditions while sewing for 12 hours or more per day.
Four-time NBA champion Curry, who has been an avid supporter of bringing Griner back to the United States, celebrated her release while thanking the Biden administration and the WNBA player herself for her ‘sacrifice.’
The Golden State Warriors star claimed that the situation served as a stark reminder to the public to’stay engaged’ in fighting for American citizens’.
‘We are glad she’s home, we’re glad she’s reunited with her family,’ Curry said during speech at the 2022 Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Awards.
After the Biden Administration had reached a deal, Griner was released
“It’s a reminder for everyone to continue using their platforms to speak on meaningful issues that can move the needle.
“Thank you to President Biden’s government for being a part in that fight. It is also a reminder that all Americans need to continue fighting to protect American citizens abroad and at home.
We love you, BG. We are grateful for your perseverance and sacrifices. We hope you enjoy being with your family again. We are always here for you BG.
Curry, who was accepting the award Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the year, reiterated his thoughts about the red carpet prior to the event.
The four-time NBA winner thanked Biden’s administration ‘for being a part of the fight’
Curry said, “It is amazing Brittney’s home.” It was clearly too difficult to get her released from Russia’s illegal and unjust detention.
“I think one, shoutout President [Joe] Biden and his Administration, as well as all the athletes, activists and people who used their platform for her advocacy.
“I know there’s an ongoing conversation that will hopefully lead to protecting and speaking on other Americans that are unlawfully detained abroad, and knowing there are still many families in a similar situation.
“This is great news Brittney is back, and we are excited to see her go home with her family.”
Griner was sentenced to prison in August after she was arrested at Moscow’s airport in February. Russian authorities claim that Griner was carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil and was found in the country. She She was detained in Moscow until November 4, when she moved to Yavas’ IK-2 facility.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist’s lengthy imprisonment caused attention to Russia’s population of wrongful detainees. It also put pressure on the Biden Administration for Griner’s release to complete a prisoner exchange.
Griner was present for the occasion with Cherelle and Joe Biden.
Officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations confirmed the swap. They were not authorized to discuss the deal publicly before the White House announcement and spoke under anonymity. Biden spoke on the phone with Griner Thursday while Cherelle was at the Oval Office. The president was due to address reporters later in morning
PICTURED (from left-to-right): Biden; Griner’s spouse Cherelle; vice president Kamala Hariri and Secretary of States Anthony Blinken
Biden’s authorization of Griner’s release by the United States underscores the increasing pressure that his administration faced to bring Griner home, especially after her recent conviction and subsequent transfer to a penal colonies.
Biden spoke on the phone with Griner Thursday, while Cherelle, her wife, was at the Oval Office.
The deal was brokered with Vladimir Putin, responsible for the genocide in Ukraine – and with the help of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, just 48 hours after the U.S. dropped a lawsuit holding him responsible for the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The news was met with anger from former Marine Paul Whelan supporters, who remain in Russian prison. Republicans condemned the news as ‘unconscionable’, and claimed that the White House was focusing on ‘celebrities” rather than veterans detained by Putin.
Viktor Bout (left), a suspect in Russian arms smugglers, is being led by armed Thai Police Commandos as he arrives at Bangkok’s criminal court on Oct. 5, 2010. Russia released Brittney Griner, WNBA star, in a dramatic high-level prisoner swap. The U.S. released Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer.
According to Reuters Griner was at Yavas’ IK-2 penal colony, one of many in the region.
Whelan stated from prison that he was a ‘greatly disappointed” that the Biden administration failed to do more to secure Griner’s release and that he was ready for Griner to return home.
The Kremlin saw the announcement as a ‘New Years’ gift to bring home Bout. Bout was a former KGB officer that sold arms to African human rights violators and was connected to deals with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
A senior administration official refused to comment directly on MBS’s role, but stated that the U.S. will “continue to leverage partners around the world” to release unjustly detailed Americans.
Griner, 32, was flown on Thursday morning from Moscow to Abu Dhabi by a private jet. Griner walked along the tarmac to her plane back home past ‘Merchant of Death Bout. Griner was being held in a Russian penal prison for nine years. She was to be forced to work in sweatshop conditions, while sewing 12 hours per day.
The president addressed the nation from the White House Thursday morning. He said that Griner was in good spirits after returning home from Russia, where he had been held under ‘intolerable circumstances’.