This Article is From Jan 18, 2023

Brittney Griner Makes Surprise Appearance At Martin Luther King Day Event In US

Brittney Griner, two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested in Russia in February and was swapped last week for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer.

Brittney Griner Makes Surprise Appearance At Martin Luther King Day Event In US

Brittney Griner was released from Russian prison in December last year.

US basketball star Brittney Griner made her first public appearance since being released from a Russian prison, according to a report in the BBC. Ms Griner was seen posing for pictures at an event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr Day in Arizona, along with her wife Cherelle, the outlet further reported. The basketball player told local media that she was happy to be back home. Ms Griner arrived safely in the US last year after being freed in a prisoner swap between Washington and Moscow.

Ms Griner was also pictured riding on the back of a golf cart at the event.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested in Russia in February, days before Moscow invaded Ukraine. The Russian officials said they found cannabis oil in her luggage.

The basketball player was later convicted of smuggling and possessing narcotics and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Her case gained international attention and several high-profile people, including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on the White House to secure her release.

She was exchanged in Abu Dhabi for Viktor Bout, a 55-year-old Russian arms dealer known as "Merchant of Death". He was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison.

Ms Griner spent 10 nearly months in a Russian prison. After being released, she thanked a number of people with a special "thank you" to US President Joe Biden.

"It feels so good to be home!" the basketball star said in an Instagram post. "The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help."

Ms Griner had also said that she would do "whatever I can" to help secure the release of Paul Whelan, another American held in Russia.