Helsinki Commission Statement on the Release of Britney Griner

Helsinki Commission Statement on the Release of Britney Griner

United States
Thursday, December 08, 2022

Following the release of Brittney Griner from Russian detention, the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Cochairman and OSCE PA’s Special Representative for Political Prisoners Rep. Steve Cohen issued the following statement:

“I am thankful Brittney Griner is coming home. Ms. Griner’s arrest and lengthy prison sentence by a Russian court were completely unjustified, and is an example of a  state-sanctioned hostage taking by the criminal regime in Moscow.

“Ms. Griner, a WNBA star who posed no threat to the Russian people or global society, was exchanged for the notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is a dangerous criminal responsible for many deaths across the globe. The one-to-one exchange in this instance does not appear to be a proportional trade and I am dismayed that Russia refused to release US nationals Paul Whelan and Marc Fogel and legal permanent resident Vladimir Kara-Murza as part of this exchange, all of whom are also wrongfully detained.

“Ms. Griner coming back home to her family is a win. With her release and the release of Trevor Reed earlier this year, the Biden administration should continue its work to ensure all US nationals and legal permanent residents held in Russia and being used as hostages are also returned home as soon as possible."