April 18, 2024

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Britney Grenier’s detention in Russia has been extended until at least July 2, according to Russian official news reports

Britney Greiner: The US Embassy in Moscow found Britney Greiner 'in good shape' after gaining access to the consulate
Greiner, 31, has been officially designated as “unjustly detained,” according to a US State Department official. To CNN in May.

Greiner was arrested at Moscow airport in February, when Russian authorities claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling large quantities of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Phoenix Mercury plays in Russia during that off-season league.

“Our position on this has been very clear for some time: Britney Grenier should not be detained. She should not be held for one day,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.

Price said the State Department learned of the news through Russian state media reports. He told reporters that the last US consular visit to Griner was last month.

Grenier’s case is being handled by the Office of the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, A State Department official confirmed to CNN last month. The office leads the government’s diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Americans unjustly held abroad and played a key role in securing the release of US citizen Trevor Reid in a prisoner exchange with Russia in late April.
in A statement late on Tuesday, Griner’s agent said the player was clearly being used as a “political pawn”.

“Act urgently and do anything. Take Britney home immediately,” said Lindsey Kagawa Colas, who called on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to “act urgently and do anything.”

Teammates ‘want her to come home’

News of Grenier’s detention extension comes a day after State Department officials – including staff from the Office of Hostage Affairs – She briefed her teammates on Griner’s situation and efforts to bring her home.

“We’re on 116th day since BJ was wrongfully arrested,” Mercury team manager Vanessa Nygaard said, adding, “She’s our teammate, she’s American and we want her to come home.”

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For star Diana Torassi, the State Department’s announcement that Grenier’s arrest was a mistake signals to the team that officials are taking the situation seriously.

“It’s something we’ve all talked about intimately as a group, and now we know the State Department at the highest level — from US President Joe Biden to the team working to bring back all unjustly detained Americans — we have great confidence that they’re working on it,” Turasi said.

“Anything we can do on our part to amplify and put BG first will be our top priority,” she said.

Separately, Reed – the American veteran who spent nearly three years in a Russian prison – Submit a petition to the United Nations Declaring that Russia violated international law by detaining and mistreating him, he told CNN on Tuesday.

Holding Russia responsible “will force Russia to end this practice for all the Americans it holds there,” Reid told CNN, including Greiner and Paul Whelan. Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine Corps captain, was detained in a Moscow hotel in 2018 and arrested on spying charges, which he denied.

CNN has reached out to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Russia to the United Nations for comment on Reade’s petition.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.