Britney Griner: The US government says a WNBA player 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 an American citizen and former Marine. 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 Psi said on Tuesday that the decision to classify Griner as “misguided” was “taken in conjunction with the hostages negotiator.” [Carstens] And the State Department. ”

“But in general, I do not believe this will change. We will 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. .

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 more focused on working than talking at this time,” Mickey Bergman, deputy Richardson Center chairman and managing director, told CNN.

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

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

On Tuesday, the WNBA announced that it would honor Greener for the 2022 season with his initials (BG) and jersey number (42) alongside 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.”

Last season, Greener finished second in the Most Valuable Player Award poll. He 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 Office’s misclassification of classification in the Griner case.

CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.

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