Officials on the U.S. Embassy in Moscow visited jailed WNBA celebrity Brittney Griner on Thursday, more than every week after a Russian court docket rejected her attraction of her 9-yr sentence for drug possession.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a tweet that the American representatives “saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance notwithstanding her gift occasions.”
Price said the Biden administration is persevering with to press for the immediate release of Griner and Paul Whelan, who changed into sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison in Russia on espionage-associated expenses that he and his circle of relatives say are bogus, and “fair treatment for every detained American.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated Griner “is doing in addition to can be anticipated below the situations” and that the management changed into working “to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions” of Griner and Whelan.Griner became was convicted in August after police stated they found vape canisters containing hashish oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Her arrest in February got here at a time of heightened tensions among Moscow and Washington, simply days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine. At that time, Griner become returning to play for a Russian crew at some stage in the WNBA’s offseason.She admitted at her trial to having the canisters in her baggage but testified she packed them inadvertently in her haste to make her flight and had no criminal motive. Her legal professionals have known as the punishment excessive.
The United States regards Griner and Whelan as wrongful detainees and has been attempting for months to barter with Russia for their launch. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said over the summer that the U.S. Had made a “giant proposal” to Russia to attempt to comfortable their release, and President Joe Biden advised relatives of Griner and Whelan in a White House meeting in September that his administration become devoted to bringing them home.
People familiar with the offer have said the U.S. Had presented to launch convicted Russian palms provider Viktor Bout for Griner and Whelan.
There have been no outward signs and symptoms of progress considering then within the negotiations.
Jean-Pierre advised newshounds traveling with the president to New Mexico that “despite a lack of good faith negotiation by using the Russians, the U.S. Authorities has persevered to comply with up on that offer and recommend opportunity capability ways ahead with Russia through all to be had channels. This continues to be a pinnacle priority.”