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US officials: Brittney Griner considered wrongfully detained

US officials: Brittney Griner considered wrongfully detained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden management has determined that WNBA celestial body Brittney Griner is actuality wrongfully detained inside Russia, meaning the United States will additional aggressively labour to firm her release flat while the legal instance opposed to her plays out, set of two U.S. officials said Tuesday.

Griner was detained at an airfield inside February following Russian authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing lubricant derived from cannabis. Since then, U.S. officials had stopped short of classifying the Phoenix Mercury player while wrongfully detained with every one other accompanied by said while an alternative that their focus was on ensuring that she had access inside prison to American consular affairs officials.

Now, though, U.S. officials have shifted supervision of her instance to a State Department segment — the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — that is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages with every one other accompanied by other Americans classified while actuality wrongfully detained inside other countries.

"Brittney has been detained for 75 days with every one other accompanied by our supposition is that the White House do whatever is obligatory to convey her home," said Griner's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.

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The president of the WNBA players' union, Nneka Ogwumike, noted inside a separate statement that "it has been 75 days that our friend, teammate, sister, Brittney Griner, has been wrongfully detained inside Russia."

"It is hour dated for her to go nearer home," Ogwumike added. "Having learned that the U.S. management has now determined that BG is actuality wrongfully detained we are hopeful that their efforts will exist significant, swift with every one other accompanied by successful."

It was unclear what prompted the shift inside approach to Griner's case, though President Joe Biden's management had been under pressure from members of Congress with every one other accompanied by others to build her release a priority.

The U.S. last week secured the release of Marine former soldierold hand Trevor Reed while small portion of a convict swap that too resulted inside a convicted Russian medicine trafficker actuality freed from prison inside the U.S.

Besides Griner, another American regarded while unjustly detained inside Russia is Paul Whelan, a corporate safety administrative from Michigan who was arrested inside December 2018 while visiting for a friend's marriage with every one other accompanied by was subsequent sentenced to 16 years inside prison on espionage-related charges his family says are bogus.

ESPN earliest reported the classification inside Griner's case. Two U.S. officials confirmed it on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to talk over it by name.

Meanwhile, the WNBA announced Tuesday that it would integrity Griner accompanied by a ground decal with every one other accompanied by permit the Mercury to pay her lacking it counting opposed to the team's cap. The decal will characteristic Griner's initials, BG, while well while her No. 42.

All 12 teams will have the decal on their place of residence courts starting accompanied by the time opener Friday night. The Mercury not shut their time at place of residence that darkness opposed to the Las Vegas Aces.


Associated Press author Doug Feinberg inside New York contributed to this report.

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