The detention of basketball player Brittney Griner in Russia — where she has been held for three weeks on allegations of drug smuggling — is really “unusual and extremely concerning,” US Representative Colin Allred of Texas said Thursday.
Allred said the US Embassy has requested consular access to the WNBA star, “the same way they would for any American who’s detained or incarcerated overseas, and that has been denied now for three weeks.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “does loom over the entire issue” of getting Griner back to the United States, Allred added.
“For Brittany’s sake, we don’t want her to become a part of this kind of political battle that’s going on, and we want to make sure that her rights are respected and that we are able to get access to her, and that she can … get home as quickly as possible,” Allred said.
Limited contact: Griner has been in contact with her Russian lawyer, who is “in touch with her agent and her family back home — so we do know that she’s OK,” Allred said. He said he has also been in contact with Griner’s family through the player’s agent.
“(Griner’s family) should just know that our government, the State Department, folks like myself in Congress on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we’re gonna do everything we can to get her home, to get any other American who’s been detained unjustly home,” he said.
CNN has reached out to Russian officials, the US Embassy in Moscow, and the US State Department for comment on Griner’s consular access but has not heard back.