Jailed US basketball star Brittney Griner has been freed by Russia in a prison swap deal.
WNBA player Griner was stopped at a Russian airport in February and was found to have cannabis oil on her.
She was jailed and sent to a Russian penal colony, but has now been freed in exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who has been held in an American jail for 12 years.
President Joe Biden said Griner is “on her way home”.
“She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home,” he tweeted alongside pictures of himself in the Oval Office with Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner.
Bout, dubbed the ‘Merchant of Death’, sold arms to rogue governments following the fall of the Soviet Union.
He was caught in Bangkok in 2008, much to the anger of Moscow.
He was jailed for 25 years for conspiring to kill Americans and for supporting terrorists.
Griner’s case drew outrage in the US, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaching out to Russia to propose the deal to free her despite soaring tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Griner, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Women’s NBA champion, had been in Russia to play for the professional Yekaterinburg team during her off-season from the Phoenix Mercury WNBA side.She said the cannabis in vape cartridges was to treat pain from her sporting injuries, but Russia does not allow medical marijuana use.
Story Credit: news.com.au