WASHINGTON – State Department officials met Monday with members of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team on the month-long arrest of the Phoenix Mercury star in Russia and the Biden administration’s efforts to secure her release.
The State Department confirmed the meeting, which was attended by officials from its specialized office defending hostages and unjustly detained Americans.
“There’s a lot involved for him to come home safe and sound, they’re working tirelessly,” Mercury star Diana Taurasi said after the meeting in a Mercury statement. “We are here to do everything we can to amplify and maintain. BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that is happening in our lives. We want BG to get home as soon as possible, it’s the number one on our list.
The administration has previously said it is working to bring Griner and another U.S. Michigan corporate security executive, Paul Whelan, from Russia.
“Knowing the State Department at the highest level, from the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to the team that is working to bring back all Americans who are unjustly detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they are working on it. said Taurasi.
Griner was arrested Feb. 17 at a Russian airport after authorities said a search of her purse revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative. In May, the State Department reclassified Griner as unjustly detained and transferred oversight of his case to the Presidential Envoy of the State Department for Hostage Affairs, or SPEHA.
“We are on the 116th day since BG was unjustly detained. It was great to hear from the State Department that we must continue to amplify that message and that we must continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home.” said Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard. “She’s our teammate. She’s American and we want her to come home.”
After the meeting with the State Department, Mercury players and staff met with Deputy Greg Stanton of Arizona and Deputy Sheila Jackson Lee of Griner’s hometown of Houston.
“For Mercury’s team, coaches and executives, every day without Brittney is for life,” said Stanton. .
Griner’s teammates, as well as players from across the league, have been pressuring President Biden on social media to help her get home.
WNBA players were also able to send emails and letters to Griner through an account set up by his agent. Emails are printed and delivered sporadically in groups to Griner by his lawyer after they are reviewed by Russian officials. Once the lawyers return to their office, they will analyze Griner’s responses and return them to the U.S. to send to the players.
To see more stories on Griner: https://apnews.com/hub/brittney-griner
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State Department officials meet with Griner’s WNBA team
Source link State Department officials meet with Griner’s WNBA team