PHOENIX MERCURY

Spokesperson: Brittney Griner in ‘good condition’ after US is granted access

Mar 23, 2022, 8:12 AM | Updated: 8:21 am

Brittney Griner was found in “good condition” by a consular official after the United States was granted access to visit the Phoenix Mercury center in a Russian prison, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told CNN on Wednesday.

The update comes five days after the U.S. demanded access to the basketball star who was taken into custody in February on charges of carrying an illegal substance. Russian authorities said a search of her luggage in a Moscow airport revealed vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Griner’s legal ordeal comes amid tension between Russia and the U.S. over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“What I can tell you within the past couple hours, an official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner,” Price told CNN on Wednesday. “We were able to check on her condition.

“We will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network to see to it that she is treated fairly. That is a message that we will continue to convey in no uncertain terms to the Russian Federation.”

Griner last week was said to be in good health, according to a Russian state-backed prison monitoring group.

Ekaterina Kalugina told The Associated Press last Friday that she visited Griner on Monday at the pretrial detention facility outside of Moscow where she’s being held and spoke to her with the help of a cellmate who speaks Russian and English and served as an interpreter.

Kalugina said Griner’s “physical condition is fine, she’s holding up fine.”

Price on Wednesday said the United States’ access to Griner confirmed she was at least physically well.

“There’s only so much I can say, but what I can say is our official found Brittney Griner to be in good condition and we will continue to do everything we can to see to it that she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal,” Price said.

On Thursday, Griner appeared virtually in front of a Russian court to contest the drug charges, and the decision was made to extend her detention until at least May 19, according to reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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