Sarah Krivanek who originally was a teacher in California has spent the last 11 months in a Russian prison. She was released last week and arrived at LAX on Friday, as reported by NBCLA.

Krivanek Comes Home

“What’s it like for you to be home, right now, stepping here?” NBCLA asked.

“I’m really, really, really exhausted physically,” she said.

Krivanek was teaching English in Russia when she was arrested over a domestic violence dispute with her boyfriend. As she pulled a knife on him to defend herself. She was forced to work in a labor camp the whole time she was incarcerated.

“When they moved me to the colony, it shocked my world,” Krivanek said. “This kind of work is like slavery; you work in the factory where the conditions were really, really bad.”

Anita Martinez

Back in November, she begged the court that she should be freed, showing pictures of the bruises and swelling around her eyes she got from the beating her ex-boyfriend gave her.

Her friend, Anita Martinez, called on human rights groups to help prove Krivanek acted in self-defense.

“They had gone to see Brittney Griner and accidentally ran into Sarah there and realized, ‘why didn’t we know there was another American there?'” Martinez said.

Photo Credit: Sarah Krivanek

“She’s like a bulldog on a meat wagon. I think the Russians should be scared of her,” Krivanek said. “Without her I don’t know if anyone would’ve found me to be honest.”

Free From Prison

Krivanek didn’t receive any assistance from the United States in getting released. Even her flight home was paid for with a GoFundMe account and other things she needs to rebuild her life again.

“I’m overwhelmed, I feel self-conscious because I’m in prison – you know what I mean? I don’t look well, I look tired,” she said. “These clothes are literally clothes I found in prison.”