We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

brittney griner

US basketball star being wrongfully detained in Russia, say US officials

Brittney Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION has determined that US basketball star Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia, meaning the United States will more aggressively work to secure her release even as the legal case against her plays out, two US officials have said.

Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February after Russian authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis.

Since then, US officials had stopped short of classifying the Phoenix Mercury player as wrongfully detained and said instead that their focus was on ensuring that she had access in jail to American consular affairs officials.

But US officials have now shifted supervision of her case to a State Department section — the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — that is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages and other Americans deemed wrongfully detained.

“Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said.

It was unclear what prompted the shift in Griner’s case, although US president Joe Biden’s administration had been under pressure from members of Congress and others to make her release a priority.

The US last week secured the release of Marine veteran Trevor Reed as part of a prisoner swap that also resulted in a convicted Russian drug trafficker being freed from prison in America.

Besides Griner, another American regarded as unjustly detained in Russia is Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan who was arrested in December 2018 while visiting for a friend’s wedding and was later sentenced to 16 years in prison on espionage-related charges his family says are bogus.

Meanwhile, the WNBA announced on Tuesday that it would honour Griner with a floor decal and allow the Mercury to pay her without it counting against the team’s cap.

The design will feature Griner’s initials, BG, as well as her number, 42.

All 12 teams will have the decal on their home courts starting with the season opener on Friday night.

The Mercury open their season at home that night against the Las Vegas Aces.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel