WNBA star Brittney Griner has been in Russia since February after being detained at an airport in Moscow after allegedly being found with hashish oil, a marijuana concentrate.
There were hopes that she would be released this month, but her detention date was recently extended to July 2.
This is clearly a very frustrating situation for Griner and her loved ones, but it doesn’t appear like Russia is in any hurry to release her. Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov discussed Griner and her situation in an interview on Tuesday and disputed the State Department’s position that Griner is currently a Russian hostage.
“She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted,” Peskov said. “It’s not about being a hostage. There are lots of American citizens here. They’re enjoying their freedoms … but you have to obey the laws.”
It is clear that Russia has no intention of willingly releasing Griner, and those supporting Griner are now calling for President Joe Biden to get involved.
According to the New York Times, dozens of organizations representing people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community are calling for President Biden to cut a deal for Griner’s release.
The groups detailed Griner’s “enduring inhumane treatment, deprived of contact with her family” in a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The letter says that they believe Griner is a “political pawn” and urged Biden’s administration to make a deal to bring her back to the U.S.
The National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Urban League, and the National Action Network are all extremely powerful and persuasive groups that are involved in this letter.
Griner’s girlfriend, Cherelle Griner recently expressed her displeasure with the current handling of the situation from the government.
Hopefully, for the Griner family, this letter, backed by some big-name organizations, will help rally support that will put pressure on the Biden administration to enhance efforts in bringing Griner back to the United States.