State Department officials meet with Brittney Griner’s WNBA team

by The Black Wall Street Times
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WASHINGTON (AP) — State Department officials met Monday with representatives of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team about the Phoenix Mercury star’s monthslong detention in Russia and the Biden administration’s efforts to secure her release.

The State Department confirmed the meeting, according to the Associated Press. It included officials from its specialized office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans, but offered no additional details about what was said or who specifically attended.

Most recently, Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner faced a May 13 court hearing, where her detainment was extended another 30 days, according to her lawyer, Alexander Boikov.  Considering those 30 days have passed, it’s unclear what happens next for Griner and those worried about her safe return.

2022 WNBA season begins without Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner. AP Photo/Ralph Freso

Will Brittney Griner be traded for Russian prisoner?

Meanwhile, Russian News Agency Tass, citing an unnamed source, claims that talks are currently underway to engage in a prisoner swap: Brittney Griner for Victor Bout.

Russian businessman and arms dealer Victor Bout was sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in prison for attempting to sell millions of dollars in weapons to Colombian terrorists, ABC News reported at the time.

The administration has previously said that it’s working to bring Griner and another American, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, home from Russia.

Griner was detained on Feb. 17 at an airport in Russia after authorities there said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative. In May, the State Department reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained and transferred oversight of her case to the State Department Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, or SPEHA.

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