US State Dept. Demanding Russia Provide Access To Detained WNBA Star Brittney Griner



By Maureen Meehan

U.S. State Department officials say they have not experienced accessibility to Brittney Griner since she was arrested at the airport in Moscow on Feb. 17 for allegedly getting cannabis oil in her suitcase.

At last, soon after one particular month, a Condition Dept. official issued a statement Thursday saying, “We insist the Russian authorities provide consular obtain to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention, as Brittney Griner is.”

Image by Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty Images

Except for a photograph of the WNBA All-Star holding up a piece of paper with her title on it released by Russian authorities on March 8, not a great deal else has been read about her detention until finally Thursday when the Russian news company Tass reported that a Moscow courtroom prolonged her arrest until Could 19.

The Point out Department’s insistence that Russia give accessibility to Griner marks a definite modify in tone. Up until eventually now, the federal government has taken care of a low profile with her situation. Some say the  government’s strategy is to not boost her profile to the stage the place she may possibly grow to be a precious political asset to Russia while some others regard the government’s inaction as indifference.

Highly effective Cultural Symbol

ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn said that limited reaction from the WNBA, the Biden administration and even Griner’s family members could be deliberate. The absence of a spotlight and extreme media awareness, said Quinn of the ESPN Daily podcast, may well perfectly be working in Griner’s favor.

“People all around Brittney and the U.S. federal government know that if you make much too significant a deal of it right here, you not only threat bringing awareness to it, but you incorporate worth to her as an asset.”

And if the perception is that Griner is a impressive cultural image, Quinn mentioned, Russian President Putin could make a decision to make an case in point of her.

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Meanwhile, the State Dept. suggests it’s on the ball. “We are intently engaged on this scenario and in frequent get in touch with with Brittney Griner’s legal crew … We have repeatedly requested for consular obtain to these detainees and have continuously been denied access.”

This short article initially appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.