WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in a Russian jail since February 17th, has now been classified as “wrongfully detained” by the Russian government. The new classification means she now has a chance to be released, allowing the U.S. government to negotiate her return rather than proceeding with drug smuggling trial in Russia.
“I think it shows that despite the current political relationship between Russia and the United States, negotiations are still going on behind the scenes,” Firestone told Yahoo Sports. “That provides hope that the government may be able to obtain the release of other Americans who are detained in Russia.”
According to Yahoo Sports, “Should relations between U.S. and Russian officials deteriorate further, Griner’s team has another option. International hostage negotiator Bill Richardson has also agreed to work on Griner’s case at the request of her family, Richardson Center executive director Mickey Bergman”.
“While governments certainly have more authority,” Bergman said, “in times like this, when the bilateral relations are so bad, it is sometimes the non-government players who can be effective. That is the space we operate in.”