The U.S. Embassy in Russia was finally granted consular access to detained WNBA star Brittney Griner on Wednesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday during an appearance on CNN.
Price said U.S. ambassador John Sullivan was summoned to Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday, when he delivered a “candid message” that the U.S. expects to have consular access to citizens in pre-trial detention.
Griner is awaiting trial after Russian officials accused her of allegedly trying to enter the country with vape cartridges containing hashish oil. She has been in custody since sometime in February and the charges could keep her in a Russian prison for 10 years.
“Within the past couple hours, an official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner,” Price said on 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 we will continue to convey in no uncertain terms to the Russian Federation.”
Asked about her condition, Price said the official found Griner “to be in good condition.”
Last week, a State Department spokesperson voiced concern over the lack of consular access to Griner and other detained Americans in Russia.
While the prosecution formulates its case against the two-time gold medalist and WNBA star, Griner will remain in pre-trial detention until May 19. The case will either head to adjudication, or the pre-trial detention period could be extended for another period of months.