President Joe Biden released a statement about the nine-year sentence for Brittney Griner, saying she was given “a prison sentence that is another reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongly holding Brittney.”
“It is unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue all avenues to get Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible,” he added.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said that “Mrs Griner was unlawfully detained, but beyond that I really can’t comment on it”.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, told MSNBC that “she should never have gone to trial in the first place. So there shouldn’t be any point… We’ll keep pushing because we need consular access to Ms Griner so we can make sure we can keep that communication going.”
About a possible prisoner swap with the Russians, Admiral Kirby said that “we have made a serious proposal to the Russians to try and get Brittney and Paul Whelan … home where they belong. And we urge the Russians to seriously consider that proposal and act on it.”
Speaking of the Russians who may want to add another prisoner to the swap, he said: “We interpreted the leaks about that on the Russian side as just a bad faith attempt to avoid and obfuscate … which is a really serious proposition that we made…weeks ago.”
More to come…