Britney Griner: The US government says the WNBA star has been wrongly detained in Russia

The SPEHA office directs and coordinates government diplomatic efforts aimed at freeing Americans who have been wrongfully detained abroad, and their transfer to office indicates greater flexibility in their efforts to negotiate their independence so that they do not have to wait for Russian legal action. Play.

Carstens and his team played a key role in securing the release of American citizens and Marines Trevor Reid From Russia last week.

“When it comes to our efforts to free the Americans, the special envoy for hostage affairs, Ambassador Carstens, will go anywhere and talk to anyone, that is, we can come home with an American and reconnect with that American, with her or his family,” said State Department spokeswoman Nate Price. Said on Monday.

White House spokeswoman Jen Zhaki said on Tuesday that the decision to classify Greener as “misguided” was “coordinated with the hostages negotiators”. [Carstens] And the State Department. “

“But in general, I do not believe this will change. We would not normally take home any Americans who have detained or unjustly detained her, leaving her in a place where we can all get what she wants and want. We have not talked about that in detail,” he said. .

“Britney has been remanded in custody for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House will do everything it can to bring her home,” Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said in a statement.

In addition to the work of the Biden administration, the Richardson Center advocates privately on behalf of hostages and the families of prisoners and Reid was busy coming home, Griner also tries to free her on behalf of the family.

“I can confirm that Governor Richardson and the Richardson Center are working on behalf of Britney’s family. Because of the ongoing efforts and sensitivity, we are focusing on working rather than talking at this time,” Mickey Bergman, vice president of Richardson Center, told CNN in a statement.

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Griner, a two – time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury star, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February and charged with smuggling significant amounts of drugs by Russian authorities – punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In prison.

He plays for Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA off-season.

On Tuesday, the WNBA announced that it would honor the all-star seven times in the 2022 season with his initials and jersey number (42) on the margins of 12 home courts.

“As we begin the 2022 season, we are putting Britney at the forefront of what we do in the community through the game of basketball,” WNBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbert said in a statement.

“We continue to work on bringing Britney home, and appreciate the community’s support for Fiji and her family during this extraordinarily challenging time.”

The league has announced that Griner will be paid his full WNBA salary.

Last season, Greener finished second in the Most Valuable Player Award poll. The 6’9 “center took Mercury to the WNBA Final where the Phoenix lost to Chicago Sky in four games.

The WNBA season starts on Friday and the Phoenix starts its season at home against the Las Vegas Aces.

Russian officials did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the Foreign Ministry’s new classification of the Griner case.

CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.

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