Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Brittney Griner’s Wife Demand Russian Authorities Release WNBA Star
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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Brittney Griner’s Wife Demand Russian Authorities Release WNBA Star

(Image: Twitter)

New developments have come out in the case of Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia, being held for drug possession of a vape cartridge, as previously reported.

Now, congressmen are stepping in, calling for the 31-year-old WNBA athlete’s release. Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee urged Russian authorities to set Griner free during a news conference yesterday, for what isn’t considered a crime in the United States. 

“We know that there were some issues dealing with vape cartridges and other items but let me be very clear,” said Lee, a representative of Griner’s hometown of Houston. “Brittney Griner is a United States citizen, she was a guest in Russia…and I will be demanding her release. I have just spoken to the State Department to try and get them to focus on her circumstances.”

According to the New York Post, Griner has been in custody under the Russian Federal Customs Service for three weeks, amid the Russian military invasion of Ukraine

“I don’t want to disregard a sovereign nation but Putin has disregarded sovereign nations his entire service in this world,” Lee continued. “Anyone that is killing and attacking and destroying Ukraine, a neighboring country that is not bothering them, has no right to hold Ms. Griner. Period.”

The Texas representative demanded that any supposed violation should be dealt with “diplomatically,” bringing to mind Griner’s “storied history of Olympic gold medals.”

Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, also spoke out via an Instagram post: “I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life.”

According to ESPN, Griner’s agent stated, “As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are not able to comment further on the specifics of her case but can confirm that as we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern.”

Per Russian authorities, Griner could face 5-10 years if found guilty.

The Olympic champion was in Russia as part of the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team during the WNBA’s offseason.