US Says Basketball Star "Wrongfully Detained" In Russia

By H.JanGra May 04, 2022

The United States said Tuesday that Russia has unjustly detained basketball star Brittney Griner, as her league announced plans to honor her at all venues for the start of the season

More than two months after she was seized amid soaring tensions over Ukraine, the State Department said that her case was being turned over to Roger Carstens, the US special envoy in charge of hostages

"The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained US citizen Brittney Griner," a State Department spokesperson said.

Calling American citizens' safety "among the highest priorities of the US government," the spokesperson said the State Department would "provide appropriate support" to Griner

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow's airport on February 17 on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, illegal in Russia.

The arrest came days before Russia defied US warnings and invaded Ukraine, prompting Western powers to impose sweeping sanctions and send military aid to Kyiv.

The State Department finding comes nearly a week after the United States and Russia exchanged prisoners, a scene reminiscent of the Cold War.

Russia in the last exchange freed Trevor Reed, a former US Marine accused of drunkenly fighting with police.