WNBA star Griner freed in Russia in prisoner swap - RTHK
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WNBA star Griner freed in Russia in prisoner swap

2022-12-08 HKT 21:56
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  • Russia frees WNBA star Brittney Griner in a high-level prisoner exchange, with the US releasing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. File photo: AP
    Russia frees WNBA star Brittney Griner in a high-level prisoner exchange, with the US releasing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. File photo: AP
US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that US women's basketball star Brittney Griner is "on her way home" after Moscow reported she had been exchanged in a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The US athlete, who was being held in a remote Russian penal colony, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February and handed nine years in prison in August for possessing vape cartridges with a small quantity of cannabis oil.

Biden tweeted that "Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner."

"She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home," Biden said in the tweet, which included pictures of himself in the Oval Office with Griner's wife Cherelle Griner.

Russia confirmed that Bout had been exchanged for the 32-year-old basketballer, who was detained in a Cold-War style standoff between Moscow and Washington.

"On December 8, 2022, at the Abu Dhabi airport, the exchange of Russian citizen Viktor Bout for US citizen Brittney Griner... was successfully completed," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. (AFP)