According to a member of Russia’s state-backed prison monitoring group, the United States has demanded consular access to WNBA star Brittany Greener, who is behind bars in Russia.
The United States on Friday stepped up its push for consular access to WNBA star Brittany Greener, who was arrested in Russia on drug trafficking charges, as a member of a Russian state-backed prison monitoring group said Greener was behind bars.
Ekaterina Kalugina told the Associated Press on Friday that she visited Greener at the Pretrial Detention Facility outside Moscow on Monday where she was being held and spoke to her with the help of a cellmate who spoke Russian and English and worked as an interpreter.
About the Phoenix Mercury star, Calugina said, “She is OK, she’s OK, and I can even say she’s not quite calm and anxious,” Calugina said of the Phoenix Mercury star, whose legal ordeal is between tensions between Russia and the United States. Comes. Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Kalugina is a member of the Public Monitoring Commission who visits lockups in that part of Russia. These national commissions, which operate across the country, present themselves as independent but rarely challenge the Russian authorities on major issues.
Greener’s lawyers regularly visit her and bring her care packages that include food and personal items, but she has not yet met with the U.S. Consul, Kalugina said.
The State Department issued a statement Friday demanding access to Greener, who plays professionally in Russia in the WNBA offseason.
“We are in close contact with the legal team of Brittany Greener and we are in constant contact with her. We insist that the Russian government grant consular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention, such as Brittany Greener, ”he said.
“We have repeatedly asked these detainees for consular access and continued denial of access,” it added.
Greener was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport in mid-February, when Russian authorities said a search of his luggage had found a VEP cartridge containing oil from marijuana, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Russia’s state news agency Tass reported on Thursday that a court had extended Greener’s pre-trial detention until May 19.
Calugina said that when he met with Greener, he did not complain about his treatment at the Greener facility and said he was getting one hour a day to spend in the gym.
Kalugina says Greener has been placed at the same facility where Israeli woman Nama Isachar spent time in 2020 before Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned her. Russian authorities say they found hashish in Isachar’s luggage while he was being transferred from India to Moscow. In Israel, at the same airport where Greener was detained. Isachar was convicted and released after spending nine months behind bars before being sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison.
Greener’s legal team has quietly sought his release and has refused to comment on the case since his arrest was announced earlier this month.
Among the thousands of U.S. citizens arrested and jailed abroad, a small subset has been designated by the U.S. government as an unjust detention – a department that gives their cases an extra level of official attention and special presidential envoys for them. Hostage issues at the State Department. The U.S. government has not yet commented on Greiner’s case.
Greener is not the only American detained in Russia. Marine veteran Trevor Reed was sentenced in 2020 to nine years in prison for assaulting police officers in Moscow. And Michigan corporate security executive Paul Huilan is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage that his family and the U.S. government have denied. U.S. officials have publicly called on Moscow to release them.