U.S. official visits WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russian detention facility
The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that a U.S. Embassy official has visited with WNBA star Brittney Griner, who remains detained near Moscow, to check on her condition.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told CNN that the official found Griner “to be in good condition.” Price did not identify the official who had been granted consular access to Griner, something the U.S. had been demanding.
Griner was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport, reportedly in mid-February, after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Russian state news agency Tass reported last week that a court had extended Griner’s pretrial detention to May 19.
Given U.S. global leadership on the sanctions on Russia and military assistance for Ukraine, it’s hard not to see Griner, a LGBTQ icon, as a political prisoner.
Price says the U.S. “will do everything we can to see that she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal.” Griner’s legal ordeal comes amid tension between Russia and the U.S. over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A member of a Russian state-backed prison monitoring group visited with Griner last week at the pretrial detention facility outside Moscow where she’s being held and said the Phoenix Mercury star was faring well behind bars.
Griner’s lawyers have been visiting her regularly.
The legal team for the two-time Olympic gold-medalist has been quietly seeking her release and has declined to speak out about the case since her arrest was made public.
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