Paul Whelan’s Family Issues Statement After Brittney Griner’s Release

Paul Whelan’s Family Issues Statement After Brittney Griner’s Release

On Thursday morning President Joe Biden confirmed that Brittney Griner, WNBA star, was freed from Russia . Griner was traded for Viktor Bout, an international arms dealer, in a swap that took places in the United Arab Emirates. It is currently on its way back to the U.S. The deal did not include Paul Whelan, a 52-year-old former Marine who was arrested in Russia in 2018 on accusations of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The U.S. had apparently discussed bringing back Griner and Whelan in return for Bout, which Biden claims Russia was not willing to make.

The U.S. had reportedly discussed bringing back Griner and Whelan in exchange for Bout, a deal that Biden claims Russia was unwilling to make. “As a family member of a Russian hostage I can only imagine the joy she’ll have, being reunited and in time to enjoy the holidays. There is no greater success than wrongful detainees being freed and allowed to return home. The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”

Whelan said that the Biden administration told the family in advance that Paul would be left behind, a change from April when another former Marine, Trevor Reed, was freed from Russia.

” Our family was able to mentally prepare themselves for what is now a public disappointment. David Whelan said, “And a catastrophe for Paul.”

During a brief press conference after Griner’s release was announced, Biden and Cherelle Griner (Brittney’s wife , ) both spoke about Whelan.

” Brittney was never forgotten. “We have not forgotten about Paul Whelan who has been held in Russia unjustly for many years,” Biden stated . “This was not a choice about which American to bring home. Trevor Reed was our first choice when we had the opportunity earlier this year. Unfortunately, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently to Brittney’s. We have not yet been able to secure Paul’s release but we won’t give up. We will never give up.”

“Today my family is whole, but as you all are aware, there’s so many other families who are not whole,” Cherelle Griner said. “BG’s not here to say this, but I will gladly speak on her behalf and say that BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate BG being home, we do understand there are still people out here who are enduring what I endured the last nine months of missing, tremendously, their loved ones.”

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