Brittney Griner has been determined to be “wrongfully detained” in Russia. Officials are still focusing on bringing her back home.

Brittney Griner

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The U.S. government now considers WNBA star Brittney Griner to be “wrongfully detained” in Russia, according to a Tuesday morning report from ESPN’s T.J. Quinn. Officials did not explain what led to her being reclassified, but this decision symbolizes a major shift in how the officials are attempting to bring Griner home to America. 

Up until this weekend, Griner’s case had been handled by the consular office. As of now, the case will be passed to the special envoy’s office, according to Quinn.

“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner,” a State Department official informed ESPN Monday. “With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”

Due to this reclassification, Brittney Griner’s supporters will be able to raise more attention than before, as they were trying to keep a low profile and adhere to State Department advice so as to not jeopardize her release.

“Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, said in a statement Tuesday, per Quinn.

On April 27, U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters Griner’s safe return is still a “top priority.” This came after the release of ex-Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner swap with Russia. 

Access to Britney Griner

Olympian & WNBA athlete Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for months for possessing vape cartridges containing hashish oil. Griner has been declared “in good condition” after the US government finally got access to the athlete in Russia. 

The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price made the announcement on CNN on Wednesday. He also mentioned that Russia is now allowing the US to provide consular access to Griner. An official from the US embassy has seen her “within the past couple hours,” and found that she’s doing okay.