US Embassy officials visit Brittney Griner in Russia prison
By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials on the U.S. Embassy in Moscow visited jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday, simply weeks after a Russian courtroom rejected her enchantment of her nine-year sentence for drug possession.
State Department spokesman Ned Price mentioned in a tweet that U.S. representatives “saw firsthand her tenacity and tenacity despite her current circumstances.”
Price mentioned the Biden administration is continuous to push for the rapid launch of Griner and Paul Whelan, who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison in Russia on espionage-related costs that he and his household say are false. and “fair treatment for every American arrested.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned Griner is “doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances” and that the administration was working “to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions” of Griner and Whelan.
Griner was convicted in August after police mentioned they discovered canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Her arrest in February got here at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, simply days earlier than Russia despatched troops to Ukraine. At the time, Griner was returning to play for a Russian workforce in the course of the WNBA offseason.
She admitted at her trial that she had the canisters in her baggage, however testified that she inadvertently packed them in her haste to make her flight and had no prison intent. Her legal professionals have referred to as the sentence extreme.
The United States considers Griner and Whelan to be wrongfully imprisoned and has tried to barter with Russia for his or her launch. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned over the summer season that the US had made a “substantial proposal” to Russia to deliver each again house.
People conversant in the provide mentioned the US needed to commerce Whelan and Griner for convicted Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout.
Since then, there was no signal of progress in the negotiations.
Jean-Pierre instructed reporters touring with the president in New Mexico that “regardless of the shortage of excellent religion negotiations by the Russians, the US authorities has continued to pursue that provide and suggest various potential methods ahead with Russia by means of all accessible channels. This continues to be a high precedence.”
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