WNBA player Brittney Griner was arrested in a Moscow, Russia airport on February 17th when officials allegedly found marijuana vape cartridges in her luggage. She will remain in Russian custody until at least July 2nd.
This is the third time the Phoenix Mercury star has had her prison date extended, which is apparently common in Russian government bodies. Moscow law prohibits the possession of vape cartridges with hashish oil and the crime is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Although the United States claims that the basketball player is a wrongly detained citizen, her sentencing is yet to be lessened.
According to multiple sources, Russia has offered to exchange Griner if notorious arms trafficker Viktor Bout is released from United States custody.
Griner’s team, the Phoenix Mercury, has been open about their desire for her to have a safe return home and even met with the US government’s State Department. “We want BG to come home as soon as possible. It’s No. 1 on our list. Once we knew that BG was classified as wrongfully detained, that was a signal to us all,” fellow Mercury player Diana Taurasi said in a statement.
Phoenix Mercury and US State Department officials work together to bring Brittney Griner home
As Griner continues her imprisonment, she is largely isolated from others. However, she has been able to answer certain calls and emails through an account set up by her agent. Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard relayed that prior to their game against the Mystics, the meeting with the State Department was successful.
“It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home,” Nygaard said. “She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”
Officer members confirmed that they were actively working with the Russian government to strike a deal with hostages and wrongfully detained American citizens. Taurasi included the sentiments, “Now knowing that the State Department at the highest level, from U.S. President Joe Biden to the team that is working on bringing back all Americans who are wrongfully detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they’re working on it. Anything that we can do on our side to amplify and to put BG first will be our No. 1 priority.”
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