Brittney Griner has returned to U.S. soil.
The WNBA star landed at Kelly Field Air Force Base in San Antonio around 5:40 a.m. EST, following her exchange for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in the United Arab Emirates for her release to US officials.
Griner, who spent 10 months in a Russian women’s prison, was set to undergo a rigorous physical and mental medical evaluation at Brooke Army Medical Center upon her return to her home state, KENS5 reported.
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According to Dr. Ralph Riviello, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, clinicians will examine the patient for anemia, electrolyte abnormalities, and infections. Additionally, medical personnel will detect any ailments she may have incurred while confined.
Within a few days, according to Dr. Riviello, a “multi-disciplinary committee” would likely conduct a more in-depth evaluation of Griner’s imprisonment abroad.
The façade of The Brooke Army Medical Center, where Brittney Griner will be treated upon her return to the United States.
“(They would seek) additional information regarding what occurred during their incarceration and what they may have endured. Was there physical conflict? Was there any cruelty? Did psychological torture or manipulation occur? ” he told the publication.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price stated that the United States is prepared to supply Griner with whatever she desires.
“She may request the support that the United States will provide, and we will make it accessible to her. How long she takes use of this support is an issue for Brittney Griner and Cherelle to answer. However, this will be an ongoing discussion with them,” Price stated on MSNBC.
In February, the 32-year-old Phoenix Mercury center was held at a Moscow airport for possessing cannabis oil-containing vape cartridges, which are illegal in Russia.
One week before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, she was imprisoned, leading to speculation that she was kept as leverage against the United States.
Griner, who claimed she had packed the cannabis oil in her suitcase by accident, pled guilty to narcotics charges and was sentenced to nine years in a Mordovia hard labor camp.
Griner and Viktor Bout were exchanged in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The 6-foot-9, eight-time all-star was forced to sleep in a tiny cot for months at Women’s Penal Colony No. 2 in Mordovia, Russia, as US officials negotiated her return home.
Griner can be seen wearing green jail garb in her closely cropped image, rendering her nearly unrecognizable in comparison to her towering stature. Other photographs depict the monotonous meals she was compelled to consume and the basketball player at work.
After her medical evaluation, Griner will return to her 3,000-square-foot Arizona ranch, where she will have plenty room to stretch out.
The government’s decision to exchange Griner for Bout, a worldwide arms dealer also known as the “Angel of Death,” was criticized by critics.
Thursday, the United States released Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner.
Bout was convicted in 2011 for, among other crimes, conspiring to kill Americans by selling weapons to the Colombia-based narco-terror group FARC. He was given a 25-year prison term.
Ex-marine Paul Whelan, who has been jailed in Russia for over four years on espionage allegations, was excluded from the arrangement. Anthony Blinken, secretary of state, stated that the United States attempted to bargain for Whelan, but the Russians refused to bend.
Whelan’s family approved the arrangement to bring Griner home, deeming it “the correct decision” instead of waiting for another opportunity that could never arise.
Marc Fogel, who, like Griner, was detained with a little amount of marijuana in his suitcase, is currently serving a 14-year sentence in a Russian prison.