Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion Brittney Griner is believed to be “wrongfully detained” in Russia. This report comes from the State Department.
Today (April 3), a department spokesperson told ABC News, “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S. government. The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.” They added, “With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”
U.S. officials will now continue doing all they can to safely negotiate her freedom.
As previously reported by REVOLT, Griner was detained in Russia in February for traveling through an airport with hash oil — a form of cannabis — in her luggage. Her arrest was not made public until March 5. Many feared for her safety as the arrest came as Russia went to war with American ally Ukraine.
The Phoenix Mercury athlete had been in the country to play for a Russian team during the WNBA’s off-season. Griner now faces up to 10 years in prison for carrying the illegal substance.
On March 23, Griner met with U.S. officials to check on her well-being. State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “The consular officer who visited with Brittney Griner was able to verify that she is doing as well as can be expected under these very difficult circumstances.”
Not many other details have been provided since then. A spokesperson told members of the press that they were “deeply concerned about our lack of consistent consular access to these U.S. citizens in recent months.”
Fans and loved ones of Griner continue to remain hopeful that she will return soon.
Today, Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas released a statement saying, “Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home.”