Brittney Griner on a plane back to the United States, Dec. 8. Photo: MGN Online

SAN ANTONIO—Brittney Griner, 32, of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), was released from a Russian prison after months of incarceration and returned back to the U.S. on Dec. 9.  She has been detained in Russia since February. Ms. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury pro basketball star, was seen getting off a plane that landed Dec. 9 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.

A one-for-one prisoner exchange was announced by the Biden Administration that it released arms dealer Viktor Bout and in order to bring Ms. Griner back to the United States was announced on Dec. 8.

The WNBA star, who also played pro basketball in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February of this year after Russian authorities said she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil. The U.S. State Department declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained”—a charge that Russia has sharply rejected.

Ms. Griner pleaded guilty in July but still faced trial because admitting guilt in Russia’s judicial system does not automatically end a case. She was sentenced to nine years.


Compiled from Associated Press reports.