State Department officials meet with Griner’s WNBA team

Posted at 4:02 PM, June 13, 2022 and last updated 4:02 PM, June 13, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — State Department officials met Monday with representatives of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team about the Phoenix Mercury star’s monthslong detention in Russia and the Biden administration’s efforts to secure her release.

FILE – Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner during the first half of Game 2 of basketball’s WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky, Oct. 13, 2021, in Phoenix. Brittney Griner is easily the most prominent American locked up by a foreign country. But the WNBA star’s case is tangled up with that of another prisoner few Americans have ever heard of. Paul Whelan has been held in Russia since his December 2018 arrest on espionage charges he and the U.S. government say are false. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

The State Department confirmed the meeting, which involved officials from its specialized office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans, but offered no additional details about what was said or who specifically attended.

The administration has previously said that its working to bring Griner and another American, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, home from Russia.

Griner was detained on Feb. 17 at an airport in Russia after authorities there said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative. In May, the State Department reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained and transferred oversight of her case to the State Department Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, or SPEHA.

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