Brittney Griner: US Embassy officials visit detained basketball star Brittney Griner in Russia

Brittney Griner: US Embassy officials visit detained basketball star Brittney Griner in Russia


Officials of the US Embassy in Moscow met with the detained American Brittney Griner White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday.

“We’re told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said ua tweet On Thursday, embassy officials “saw firsthand her tenacity and tenacity despite her current circumstances.”

Embassy officials were able to speak by phone with Griner on October 18 and another detained American, Paul Whelan, on October 31. They have not been able to visit the imprisoned WNBA star since early August. Whelan, who is in a remote prison camp hours from Moscow, has not had an in-person visit since June 16, according to a State Department spokesman.

Jean-Pierre reiterated Thursday that “the U.S. government has made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and illegal, illegal detentions” of Griner and Whelan.

“I can also tell you that in the following weeks, despite the lack of good faith negotiations by the Russians, the US government continued to pursue that offer and to suggest alternative potential ways forward with the Russians through all available channels,” she said. “This remains a top priority.”

Whelan was arrested in December 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison on espionage charges in June 2020. Griner was arrested in February, sentenced to nine years in prison on drug-trafficking charges in August, and a Moscow court rejected her appeal at a hearing on October 25.

During that appeal hearing, Griner again apologized for her mistake in bringing a small amount of cannabis into Russia, where she was playing basketball in the offseason, and noted that her sentence was “disproportionate.”

“It was very stressful and very traumatic for me mentally and physically [state] and my family that I couldn’t communicate with,” Griner said.

The US government condemned the rejection of her appeal, with a State Department spokesman calling it “another miscarriage of justice, which only reinforces the original injustice of her detention”.

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