Saturday, July 2, 2022

NBA Commissioner Joins State Dept in Piling on Pressure to Free Brittney Griner | VIDEO

*The State Department has been pushing to have regular contact with Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia for close to three months. Last week, a consular official managed to meet Griner when her pre-trial detention was extended by one month.

U.S. officials maintain she is wrongfully in detention, which began in February after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage at an airport in Moscow. Grinner, 31, faces drug smuggling charges and could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years if found guilty.

On Tuesday, the NBA chipped in on the matter through Commissioner Adam Silver, signaling it is starting to take a more visible role in the matter. In a televised interview, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he is working “side by side” with Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA Commissioner, to see how they can bring Griner back home.

“That consular official came away with the impression that Brittney Griner is doing as well as might be expected under conditions that can only be described as exceedingly difficult,” Ned Price, State Department spokesman, said in Washington. “But sporadic contact is not satisfactory. It also may not be consistent with the Vienna Convention to which Russia has subscribed.”

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Blood on Walls, Toilet is Hole in Floor: Released Russian Prisoner on What Conditions for Brittney Griner Are Like

Brittney Griner & wife Cherrelle - Instagram
Brittney Griner & wife Cherrelle – Instagram

So far, WNBA and U.S. officials have tried to get Griner released, but no visible progress has been seen. Price also said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently had a talk with Griner’s wife.

“He conveyed once again the priority we attach to seeking the release of all Americans around the world, including Brittney Griner in the case of Russia, Paul Whelan in the case of Russia, those Americans who we consider to be wrongfully detained,” Price said. “That has been a priority of Secretary Blinken since the earliest days of his tenure.”

Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, was arrested in Russia in December 2018 while attending a friend’s wedding. He was charged with espionage-related cases and later sentenced to 16 years in prison. But his family says the charges are bogus.

While speaking to ESPN in a televised interview from Chicago on Tuesday night before the NBA draft lottery, Silver stated that his league was following the experts’ advice when it decided not to take an aggressive approach during the early stages of Griner’s detention.

He said they had been in touch with the House House, the State Department, hostage negotiators, every level of government as well as through the private sector. He added their No. 1 priority is Griner’s health and safety and ensuring that she returns to the U.S.

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