State Department says it ‘deeply’ regrets Brittney Griner was unable to speak with wife due to ‘logistical error’
The State Department spokesperson did not give further details about the “logistical error.”
Asked about the AP report, the State Department spokesperson told CNN that the department has “no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.”
“We remain in regular contact with the families of those held hostage or wrongfully detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure we are communicating and sharing information in a way useful to our families,” the spokesperson said.
Brittney Griner, 31, has been held in Russia since February on accusations of drug smuggling and has been officially classified as “wrongfully detained,” a US State Department official told CNN in May.
Supporters, including Griner’s family and the WNBA, have vigorously advocated for her release, with some expressing concern that Moscow would use her as a political pawn amid tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, when Russian authorities claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and star of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury plays in Russia during that league’s offseason.
Her case is being handled by the Office of the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said last week that “our position for some time on this has been very clear: Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer.”
CNN’s Karen Smith and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.
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