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Russia Criticizes U.S. for Designating Brittney Griner ‘Unlawfully Detained’

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Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova lashed out at the United States' characterization of Brittney Griner's jailing on drug charges as "wrongful detention" on Thursday. | Image by Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service

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A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson criticized the U.S. State Department for characterizing imprisoned American WNBA basketball player Britney Griner’s jailing as “wrongful detention.”

Griner, 33, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for possession of vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil. As reported in The Dallas Express, Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges earlier this month and now faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison if convicted.


“If a U.S. citizen was taken in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be commensurate with our Russian, local laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington,” stated Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, sniping at permissive marijuana laws adopted in some states, per WFAA.

She continued, “You understand, if drugs are legalized in the United States … and this is done for a long time, and now the whole country will become drug-addicted, this does not mean that all other countries are following the same path.”

Zakharova’s reaction stemmed from the State Department’s decision back in May to designate Griner’s incarceration as “wrongful,” which officially placed the matter in the hands of the U.S. “special presidential envoy for hostage affairs,” according to WFAA.

It is unclear whether the move has complicated the prospect of a potential prisoner exchange hinted at by Russian media, as reported by The Dallas Express.

The Russian news outlet TASS had previously reported that talks were underway between the two governments over trading Griner for convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, 55, currently serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison in Illinois.

Griner’s lawyer said he was unaware of any discussions regarding such an exchange, and the State Department has not commented on this possibility.

Griner’s trial will resume next Tuesday.

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Bobby
Bobby
2 months ago

She knowingly commit the crime now she must do the time… leave her in Russia

DHanna
DHanna
2 months ago

Commit the crime, do the time. She broke their law, let her face the music.

Cookie
Cookie
2 months ago

This is so petty.

Patrick Sumner
Patrick Sumner
2 months ago

On the brighter side… Griner has been drug free for over 150 days now.