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Getty Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Held in Russia since February 2022, Brittney Griner has been in prison with little to no contact with the outside world. The United States has said she has been wrongfully detained, yet Russia has not answered that and held firm that she broke the law.

When Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry hosted the ESPYs in June, he wore a Griner jersey and called on the community to be strong and continue to support her.

“There are a lot of people working hard right now to secure Brittney’s release, but as we hope for the best, we urge the entire global sports community to continue to stay energized on her behalf.”

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s verdict finally came down on August 4, and she was sentenced to nine years in prison, a sentence that was expected but caused frustration amongst many Americans. The verdict sent shockwaves across the basketball world, as the hashtag #FreeBG went viral. Many stars across different sports expressed support and publicly denounced the Russian government for such harsh sentencing.

The White House came out immediately and issued a statement that blasted Russia and asked them to release an innocent American citizen.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”

Stephen Curry’s Comments After the Sentencing

During Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s annual Curry Camp in the Bay Area, he talked about the Griner situation with Blavity.

“It’s beyond the sports world at this point, but myself and all of [Griner’s] colleagues have spoken very loudly that we need to continue to keep her name in the media and make sure that she feels loved and supported,” Curry says.

Curry reiterated what he said at the ESPYs, for everyone to continue to talk about the unfortunate situation so that it can put pressure on both parties to work towards a resolution as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, it’s such a helpless situation when you think about all the details of what’s happened. Today is not a great day, obviously, but I think that there are other conversations that are going on and hopefully we will still have a safe and speedy return for her. The right people are feeling the pressure and I’m hoping that it works out right for BG,” he continued.

How Griner Got Arrested

Griner was originally in Russia to play professional basketball for UMMC Ekaterinburg. After going through customs at the Sheremetyevo Airport, the Russian Federal Customs allegedly found hash oil in her belongings.

In 2019, the Moscow Times reported that Russia has the highest per capita number of people in jail for drug crimes in all of Europe.

Since then, she has been detained in prison and has not been able to travel back to the United States. Her only contact has been with her lawyer, who has been relaying communication back to her family and friends. Even Griner’s consular access has been denied in Russia.

The United States has been trying to negotiate a prisoner swap, offering Viktor Bout, a known Russian arms trafficker in exchange for Griner and Paul Whelan. The Russians sent a counter-proposal, so hopefully, both sides can reach an agreement that can bring Griner safely home.

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Tags: basketball nba breaking news 5 fast facts crime politics shopping stephen curry’s the united states the united states griner situation american citizen brittney griner to continue sentence she has been community a statement the russian

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World News | Russia issues threats over ‘sponsor of terrorism’ label

A senior Russian diplomat has warned that Moscow might rupture diplomatic relations with Washington if the United States designates Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, the latest in a range of diplomatic sparring in recent days between the Kremlin and capitals that support Kyiv.

A terrorist designation would cause “the most serious collateral damage to bilateral diplomatic relations,” Alexander Darchiev, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for North America, told the official news agency TASS in a brief interview published on Saturday.

It could result in lowering or breaking off ties entirely, he said, adding, “The U.S. side has been warned.”

The Kremlin was also sharply critical of recent calls by Western nations to bar all visitors from Russia, including students, tourists and business executives. Dmitri Peskov, the presidential spokesman in Russia, said such attempts to isolate Russia were bound to fail.

Both issues have been pressed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have said that they will stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Estonia and Finland called for a collective European Union ban, but other nations rejected the idea, with Germany saying that such a move would harm “innocent people.”

Russians who fled abroad to escape the Kremlin’s draconian measures to imprison critics of the war, as well as President Vladimir Putin’s increased repression generally, have also been critical. Tens of thousands of Russians are trying to establish new lives abroad, and some of the most outspoken would face jail if they were forced to return to Russia.

On Thursday, Latvia’s Parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” for its attacks on civilians in Ukraine, and encouraged other countries to make similar declarations.

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In Washington, the Senate unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution in late July calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate Russia as a sponsor of terrorism for its brutal military campaign in Ukraine as well as earlier wars in Chechnya, Georgia and Syria.

The House is weighing an even stronger resolution that would add Russia to the list regardless of whether the State Department, which holds the authority to make the designation, does so.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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