Civil Rights Leader Urged Faith Leaders Trip to Russia to Pray Over WNBA Star, Pressured Biden Administration to Bring Her Home
WNBA star has been released from custody in a Russian prison in a one-to-one prisoner swap agreement between the united States and Russia.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison after a Russian judge found her guilty of smuggling and storing illegal drugs.
Griner, a WNBA star for the Phoenix Mercury, traveled to Russia in February to play basketball in order to earn a higher salary. She earned $227,000 playing in the WNBA and over $1 million playing in Russia.
On Feb. 17, Griner, 31, was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Khimki after Russian authorities found vape cartridges containing hashish oil.
Griner testified that she did not intentionally bring the oil with her and only had it for medical reasons.
Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network released the following statement on the release of Brittney Griner from a Russian prison. The announcement that Griner was on her way home this morning reflects pressure from her family, friends, fellow athletes, and Rev. Sharpton to bring the WNBA superstar home.
“After nine horrific months behind bars, Brittney Griner’s family, friends, and teammates can finally breathe a sigh of relief that she’s on her way home. For months we kept the pressure on President Biden to do everything in his power to bring Brittney home. Today, we gladly applaud the administration for the hard work of ensuring Brittney’s imprisonment finally came to an end. My prayers for her and her family remain as strong today as ever, because her journey is far from over. Brittney returns home with spiritual and emotional wounds that can only heal now that she’s free. I and the ministers who were denied access to see her in Russia look forward to meeting her here, so we can finally pray over her and offer her spiritual guidance. We also continue to pray for the release of Paul Whelan and all U.S. citizens detained abroad.”