U.S. Reclassifies Brittney Griner As ‘Wrongfully Detained’

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The United States government now considers women’s basketball star Brittney Griner to be “wrongfully detained” by Russia, according to a report on Tuesday by ESPN. 

Citing “sources familiar with her case,” ESPN noted that the new designation by the U.S. represents “a significant shift in how officials will try to get her home.” 

As a result of the shift, the U.S. and Griner’s supporters will likely be more proactive and public in their efforts to secure her freedom. 

The change “means that the U.S. government will no longer wait for Griner’s case to play out through the Russian legal system and will seek to negotiate her return,” according to ESPN, and that “Griner’s fellow WNBA players and supporters in Congress will be told they have the family’s blessing to bring as much attention to her case as they wish.”

A State Department official confirmed the shift in a statement to ESPN: “The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner. With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”

Griner, a six-foot-nine WNBA champion and one of the most decorated athletes of her generation, has been detained in Russia since February 17, when she was arrested at a Moscow airport over drug charges after she was allegedly carrying cannabis vape cartridges. The charge carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The Russian Federal Customs Service announced the detention in early March, weeks after the arrest. In the announcement, the agency did not identify Griner by name, describing her only as an American women’s basketball player who has won two Olympic gold medals. The announcement also came …

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Author: Thomas Edward / High Times

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