Call on members of Congress to prioritize negotiations for Brittney Griner’s immediate release from detention in Russia.
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“Brittney Griner: ‘It’s the most audacious hostage taking by a state imaginable,’ says former captive”
March 14, 2022 | By Don Riddell, CNN | Source
“(CNN)When Jonathan Franks first heard that the American basketball star Brittney Grinerhad been detained in Russia, his initial sense was one of disbelief.
But it wasn’t any kind of incredulity that she’d been arrested accused of possession of some cannabis oil at an airport near Moscow, more that any western media would relay the details of her alleged crime as if it was fact.
“This is being reported as if people are taking these allegations seriously,” he told CNN. “I think that it’s a huge mistake to report these allegations as if they’re true or even are likely to be true.”
Franks was immediately suspicious, because he has worked on behalf of numerous American citizens who have unexpectedly found themselves in similar situations with hostile governments. He’s currently the campaign spokesman for Trevor Reed, who has been detained in Russia since August 2019.
Based on the limited information that has been provided by the Russian Federal Customs Service and state media, Franks is very concerned about the predicament that Griner now finds herself to be in.
“This has a lot of hallmarks of a very wrongful and arbitrary detention,” he explained. “I found the video from the Russian customs service odd. They’re parading her before cameras. The mugshot was completely unnecessary and asinine.”
The Russian Customs Service claims that Griner was ‘smuggling significant amounts of narcotic substances’ and says that a criminal case is underway. A potential jail sentence of 10 years has been mentioned.
“They’re making her out to sound like a drug kingpin. I think that it is unlikely that Ms. Griner will get a fair trial,” concludes Franks, “because nobody gets a fair trial in Russia. It’s a rigged game.”