- BBC News World
Washington and Moscow have announced this Thursday that a prisoner exchange was carried out between the American basketball player Brittney Gringer, who was in a prison in Russia, and the arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was detained in a US prison. .for twelve years.
The exchange was approved by US President Joe Biden, who made it public at an event at the White House in the company of Cherelle Griner, the basketball player’s wife.
Cherelle announced that both will remain committed to achieving the release of all Americans around the world who are in a situation similar to the one experienced by the athlete.
“Today my family is complete and, as you all know, there are so many families that are not,” he said.
Griner was arrested last February at the Moscow airport for possession of an oil containing cannabis and a month ago he was sent to a penal colony in Russia.
Biden wrote on his Twitter account that he had spoken with Griner and that she was fine and back in her country.
The exchange had been proposed last July.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the swap, saying it had taken place at Abu Dhabi airport. “The Russian citizen has been returned to his homeland,” the Russian agency said in a statement.
President Biden signed Bout’s release order, commuting his 25-year prison sentence.
Viktor Bout he sold weapons to other dealers and governments around the world, becoming one of the most wanted men on the planet.
Nicknamed the “merchant of death” for arms trafficking in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Their lives inspired the 2005 Hollywood film “The Warlord,” played by Nicolas Cage.
His undercover career came to an end in 2008 by an elaborate US operation, when he was arrested at a hotel in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to the wrath of the Russian government.
He was extradited two years later and spent the last 12 years languishing in a US prison for “conspiring to support terrorists and kill Americans.”
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