Continuing coverage on the detainment of Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner in Russia, uncertainty about her well-being grows every day. Going on a month of imprisonment, the WNBA center was detained at an unclear date about a month ago and her physical location is still unknown, mounting on the heightened fear that she may become a political pawn, reports CNN.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, and multiple U.S. representatives have called for her release, however, she still remains “without official government access to her,” stated Texas Rep. Colin Allred, per the outlet.
The U.S. Embassy has on multiple occasions seeked consular access to her but has been repeatedly denied for the duration of her detainment. Allred says this is “unusual and extremely concerning.”
“For Brittney’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 through the process and get home as quickly as possible,” Allred told CNN on Thursday.
Griner’s arrest came days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and as previously reported, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee said it would “be very difficult to get Griner out of Russia,” considering the deadly conflict.
Griner has allegedly been in contact with her Russian lawyer, who has been communicating with her agent and family back in Texas.
Not only is Griner a Black woman in a foreign country at war, she is a gay woman in a notoriously anti-LGBTQ country.
“Our diplomatic relationships with Russia are nonexistent at the moment,” said California Rep. John Garamendi. “Perhaps during the various negotiations that may take place, she might be able to be one of the solutions. I don’t know.”
More than 57,000 people have signed the “Secure Brittney Griner’s Swift and Safe Return to the U.S.” petition on Change.org as of today.