Texas Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is calling for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested by Russian authorities for allegedly possessing a cannabis oil vaporizer.
“We know there have been some issues with vape cartridges and other items, but let me be clear about this,” said Lee, who represents Griner’s hometown of Houston, Texas, in Congress. called on Saturday. “Brittney Griner is a US citizen, she was a guest in Russia… and I will call for her release.”
Lee added that she spoke to the State Department to “try to get them to focus on their circumstances.”
“I don’t want to disrespect any sovereign nation, but Putin has disrespected sovereign nations throughout his service in this world,” Lee said. “Anyone who kills, attacks and destroys Ukraine, a neighboring country that does not bother him, has no right to detain Ms. Griner. Period.”
Demanding that any alleged violation be dealt with “diplomatically,” Lee cited Griner’s “told story of Olympic gold medals” and said a Moscow jail was “no place for them,” especially given that Putin reportedly killed thousands of Ukrainians threw war protesters into prison.
Russian state media announced on Saturday that Griner, a member of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was arrested last month after he was allegedly caught with a vape cartridge containing hash oil.
The Russian Federal Customs Service released video of the incident, which appeared to show Griner going through security at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow.
According to the Russian authorities, if found guilty, Griner faces between 5 and 10 years.
Griner played for the UMMC Ekaterinburg women’s basketball team during the offseason of the WNBA in Russia. Playing abroad during the WNBA off-season is common among WNBA players, who have the opportunity to earn lucrative contracts that often exceed what they earn in the United States.
Griner’s agent told it ESPN in a statement Saturday that it was an “ongoing legal matter” and they are in talks with the WNBA and the NBA.
“We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representative in Russia, her family, her teams and the WNBA and NBA,” the agent’s statement said. “As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to comment further on the details of her case, but can confirm that her mental and physical health remains our primary concern as we work to bring her home.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/06/rep-sheila-jackson-lee-demands-russia-release-wnba-player-brittney-griner/ Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee demands Russia release WNBA player Brittney Griner