PoliticsWednesday 05.04.22

Fmr. Legal Adviser to U.S. embassy in Moscow details WNBA star Brittney Griner's Russian detention re-classification.

Seven-time WNBA all-star and Olympic champion Brittney Griner, who was taken into custody in February at Russia’s Sheremetyevo International Airport for alleged possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil, is now being re-classified “wrongfully detained” by the U.S. government. The Phoenix Mercury center was playing in Russia during the off-season, where she can make roughly four times her WNBA salary.

The announcement is significant because the Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs of the State Department will now handle the case and begin diplomatic efforts to secure Griner’s release. It also means that the U.S government will put more resources into the case, and shows that the government has determined that the Russian legal system cannot adjudicate fairly.

The U.S. government considers someone wrongfully detained based on certain criteria, including the conditions in which someone is being held, inhumane treatment and evidence that someone is being detained to influence U.S. government policy, among other factors.

Until this point, the consular section of the State Department, which primarily monitors how Americans held in foreign custody are being treated, was overseeing Griner’s situation.

The Russians have already detained Griner for 75 days.

Recount Wire