US demands Russia allow access to WNBA star Brittney Griner

US demands Russia allow access to WNBA star Brittney Griner

The US on Friday demanded that Russia allow consular access to WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been locked up there since mid-February on suspicion of drug possession.

In a pointed statement, the State Department mentioned Griner by name for the first time since her imprisonment, a contrast to its prior low-key approach intended to defuse tensions amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“We are closely engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s legal team. We insist the Russian government provide consular access to all US citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention, as Brittney Griner is,” the statement said.

“We have repeatedly asked for consular access to these detainees and have consistently been denied access,” it added.

Griner, 31, who plays professionally in Russia in the offseason, was arrested after officials said they found hash oil in her vape cartridge at a Moscow airport.

Her pretrial detention was extended through May 19 on Thursday, according to Russian state media.

Surveillance footage shows WNBA star Brittney Griner before her arrest at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow.
Russian Federal Customs Service

Despite the ordeal, the Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic champion was said to be in good spirits, according to a public monitoring commission that visits lockups outside of Russia.

“Her physical condition is fine, she’s holding up fine, and I’d even say that she is fairly calm and isn’t anxious,” said Ekaterina Kalugina.

Griner has had frequent meetings with her lawyers but has not yet met with US diplomats, said Kalugina, whose organization positions itself as independent but rarely clashes with the Kremlin on major issues.

Brittney Griner #15 of Team United States reacts during the first half of the Women's Basketball final game between Team United States and Team Japan on day sixteen of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games at Saitama Super Arena on August 08, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
The State Department confirmed it is in “contact with Brittney Griner’s legal team.”
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates during Game Four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on October 17, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
The State Department urges “consular access” with WNBA player Brittney Griner.
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Griner faces 10 years in prison if convicted of the cannabis charge.

US calls for Russia to release Marine veteran Trevor Reed and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, charged with assault and espionage respectively, have continued to fall on deaf ears.

With Post wires

Read the Full Article Here nypost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Jason Oppenheim Speaks Out on Armed Robbery at Sunset Office

Jason Oppenheim Speaks Out on Armed Robbery at Sunset Office

Bill Clinton George W Bush lay flowers outside Ukrainian Church

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush lay flowers outside Ukrainian Church in Chicago