June 5, 2023

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Britney Greiner: US government says WNBA player has been wrongfully detained in Russia

Britney Greiner: US government says WNBA player has been wrongfully detained in Russia

SPEHA’s office leads and coordinates the government’s diplomatic efforts aimed at securing the release of Americans unjustly detained abroad, and moving into their office means more flexibility in efforts to negotiate their freedom, as they don’t necessarily have to wait for Russian legal action in order to play it out.

Carstens and his team played a key role in securing the release of the US citizen and former Marine Trevor Reid From Russia last week.

“When it comes to our efforts to free Americans, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Ambassador Carstens, will go anywhere, talk to anyone if that means we can come home with an American, to reunite that American,” State Department spokesman Ned said. Price on Monday “with her or his family.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the decision to classify Greiner as an unjustly detainee was made “in coordination with the hostage negotiator.” [Carstens] and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

“But typically, and I don’t think that’s going to change, in order to leave the space for an outcome that we all want and want, which is to bring home and any American who is held or unjustifiably detained, we don’t usually do that ‘talk about it extensively’.”

In addition to work by the Biden administration, the Richardson Center, which advocates specifically on behalf of the families of hostages and detainees and They were involved in bringing Reed home, She also works on behalf of the Griner family to try to secure her release.

“I can confirm that Governor Richardson and the Richardson Center are indeed working on behalf of the Britney family to secure her safe return. Given the ongoing efforts and sensitivities, we are focused on doing rather than speaking at this time,” Mickey Bergman, Vice President and CEO of the Richardson Center said in a statement to CNN. If the.

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Grenier, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a player on the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury team, was arrested in February at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian authorities of smuggling large quantities of a narcotic substance — a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. .

She plays with Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason.

On Tuesday, the WNBA said it will honor Griner during the 2022 season with her initials (BG) and jersey number (42) on the sidelines of all 12 stadiums.

“As the 2022 season begins, we are keeping Britney at the forefront of what we do through the game of basketball and in the community,” WBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbert said in a statement.

“We continue to work on bringing Britney home and appreciate the support the community has given BG and her family during this very difficult time.”

Last season, Grenier finished second in the vote for the Most Valuable Player award. She led Mercury to the WNBA Finals, where Phoenix lost to Chicago Sky in four games.

The WNBA season begins Friday and Phoenix begins their season at home against the Las Vegas Aces.

Russian authorities did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the State Department’s classification of wrongful detentions in the Griner case.

CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.