A planned phone call between Olympic basketball champion Brittney Griner, who is being held in Moscow, and her wife apparently failed due to a mistake by the US embassy. As Cherelle Griner reported to the US news agency AP, a call had been arranged for the couple’s fourth wedding anniversary last Saturday, but it never came. The US State Department regretted a “logistical error”.
Brittney Griner has been in a Russian prison for four months. The star player of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury was arrested on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on charges of drug possession. Cannabis oil was found in her suitcase.
The two-time Olympic champion must remain in Russian custody until at least July 2 after the 31-year-old American’s detention was recently extended again. The basketball player, who is also active in the Russian league, faces five to ten years in prison.
According to her lawyer, she called the US embassy eleven times over several hours last Saturday from prison in Moscow, from where she was supposed to be put through to her wife Cherelle in Phoenix. At the weekend, however, no one was on the phone in the embassy to pick up the phone.
“I was desperate. I was injured. I was done, I was fed up,” Cherelle Griner explained in an interview with the AP, sharing how she spent the anniversary she was so looking forward to with tears instead.
She also raised serious allegations against the US government. The call had been scheduled for two weeks. “I find that unacceptable and right now I have zero confidence in our government,” she said. While she still has hopes of speaking to President Joe Biden about the case, at the moment it feels like a no.
The State Department said Monday, “We deeply regret that due to a logistical error, Brittney Griner was unable to speak to her wife.” I am in touch with the families of hostages and those unlawfully detained.