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Viktor Bout, the Arms Dealer, swapped for Basketball Player Brittney Griner

Russia has swapped US basketball player Brittney Griner for arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as ‘Merchant of Death.’

The Prisoner Swap:

On Thursday, the basketball player from the USA, 32-year-old Brittney Griner, was set free from a jail in Russia and in return, the convicted arms dealer from Russia, 55-year-old Viktor Bout, was released by the USA. This was a prisoner swap that occurred at the Abu Dhabi Airport. 

They both were brought to the airport in private planes.

The release of Viktor Bout was long pending. Since his sentence, the Russian government was trying its best for his release.

Viktor has returned to Russia now and is reunited with his family after a separation of almost 15 years.

Who were Viktor Bout and Brittney Griner, and why were they caught?

Viktor Bout was born in 1967 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. His father was a bookkeeper and also a vehicle mechanic. He completed his graduation from a military institute in Russia. Later on, he joined the Russian military and worked as an officer. 

He was caught in 2008 in Thailand during a US sting operation and brought to the USA in 2010 on the charges of conspiracy of killing local citizens, acquiring and exporting missiles, and helping a terrorist outfit named Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that was planning to kill Americans. He was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment by a USA court in 2012.

Although, Viktor never admitted the charges framed against him.

On the other hand, the US basketball player Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia while she was there to play in an off-season tournament. She was caught for drug smuggling in February, this year. Cannabis oil was found in her possession. In August, 9 years of imprisonment were announced for her.

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