Everything you need to know about the WNBA star in Russian custody

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As tensions between the US and Russia continue to rise amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an American The WNBA star has been detained in Russia for months. Brittney Griner, the two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA and Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg during the offseason, was arrested on drug charges in February after Customs found vape cartridges in her luggage at the airport. american officials met with Griner last month, and while a spokesman for the US Embassy in Moscow said she was in “good condition”, it is not clear when she will be released.

Russia first announced the news on March 6, telling the world that it had an American basketball player in custody. The player was later identified as Griner, and the footage supposedly showing his stop at Customs was released. According to the New York TimesRussian police say Griner was found with vape cartridges containing hashish oil and are reportedly opening a criminal case against her for “large-scale drug transportation.”

After Russia announced Griner’s arrest, her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told ESPN that they were “in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA.” Colas’ statement continued: “As this is an ongoing legal matter, we cannot comment further on the details of her case, but we can confirm that while we work to get her home, her physical and mental health remains ours.” main concern.” grinner’s wife Cherelle GrinerHe also released a statement on Instagram thanking fans for their “prayers and support” and asking for privacy. Meanwhile, the WNBA released a statement offering Griner her “full support” and saying, “Our top priority is her safe and prompt return to the United States.” Phoenix Mercury and USA Basketball made similar statements.

Griner’s arrest in Russia is especially troubling given his high-profile status as an American athlete and his identity as LGBTQ+ black woman. Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken an active stand against LGBTQ+ rightshaving declared in 2020 that he would never legalize same sex marriage in the country.

Secretary of State of the United States of America Antony blinked Acknowledging Griner’s arrest during a press conference on March 6, he said, “Any time an American is detained anywhere in the world, of course, we stand ready to provide any assistance we can. And that includes in Russia.”

On March 16, a Russian state news agency reported that a Moscow court had Griner Extended Detention through May 19, cutting short the start of the WNBA season. While coordinated efforts to secure Griner’s freedom have remained privatea US State Department spokesperson claims the department has been “doing all we can” to support Griner and work for his safe release. On March 23, consular officials reportedly he visited Griner in the cell he shares with two Russian inmates. In a press conference following the visit, US Embassy spokeswoman Jennifer Palmer reiterated that the embassy was doing everything it could to see Griner’s release and to ensure she was “treated fairly.” during this ordeal.” While government officials choose to work silent In Griner’s case, fearing excessive publicity will negatively affect his detention, many of Griner’s supporters are outraged that the government is not waging a stronger campaign for his release.

This week the biden administration announced that reed trevor – a USA Marine veteran who has been detained in Russia since 2019, he was released as part of a prisoner swap between Russia and the United States, renewing scrutiny of the Griner case. said a source ESPN What does the Griner team see? Reed’s release as an “encouraging” step toward the possibility of the White House negotiating a deal for her. But according to ESPN, the cases are substantially different, and the road to Griner’s release may still be long: Griner has not yet been charged or classified as a hostage by the State Department and could be held for up to a year before her case goes to trial. in a Press conferenceWhite House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested that both the length of Reed’s detention and his deteriorating health (his family has said he showed symptoms of tuberculosis and was not receiving attention, a factor in the urgency of the negotiations. Cherelle Griner took to Instagram to celebrate Reed’s release and express his sorrow at his wife’s continued detention. “As I do everything in my power to achieve [Brittney] home, my heart is overflowing with joy for the Reed family,” she wrote. “I don’t know them personally, but I know the pain of having your loved one detained in a foreign country. That level of pain is constant and can only be remedied by a safe return home.”


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