WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner, 31, was arrested at Moscow airport on February 18 for allegedly bringing vape cartridges containing hash oil – which is illegal in Russia – into the country.
According to Yahoo, nearly 50 civil and human rights organizations sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday urging President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to make a deal and bring Brittney Griner back to the United States.
“We join Brittney’s family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones in deep appreciation of your Administration’s ongoing efforts to secure her freedom,” the organizations wrote in the one-page letter. “The U.S. Government has acknowledged that Brittney is essentially a political pawn in classifying her as wrongfully detained. While these have been critically important measures, we now urge you to make a deal to get Brittney back home to America immediately and safely.”
Dmitry Peskov – the press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin – told NBC this week he “would strongly disagree” with the US State Department’s classification of Brittney Griner as “wrongfully detained.”
“We can not call her a hostage,” Peskov told the outlet. “She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted.”
“Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?” Peskov said.