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The US State Department on Tuesday raised the idea that “sporadic contact” with WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is being held in Russia, is insufficient and may not meet the minimum requirements of the Vienna Convention.

Griner has been detained in Russia since February for allegedly possessing vaping cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils while returning to Moscow. His arrest was not reported until March and his pre-trial detention was extended for a month last week.

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A sticker honoring Brittney Griner at the Footprint Center on May 6, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.
(Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

The State Department is still pushing for regular contact with Griner. A consular official was able to meet with the Phoenix Mercury star last week.

“This consular official came away with the impression that Brittney Griner is doing as well as expected under conditions that can only be described as extremely difficult,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “But sporadic contacts are not satisfactory. It may also not be in accordance with the Vienna Convention to which Russia has subscribed.”

Article 36 of the Vienna Convention obliges a country that has arrested a foreign national to grant the detainee access to its consulate and to give the foreign national the right of consular access.

WNBPA CALLS ON BIDEN, HARRIS TO HELP RELEASE BRITTNEY GRINER FROM DETENTION IN RUSSIA

WNBA star Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 13, 2022.

WNBA star Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Biden administration classified Griner’s status as “wrongfully detained.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, last week, Price said.

“He once again expressed the priority we place on the liberation of all Americans around the world, including Brittney Griner in the case of Russia, Paul Whelan in the case of Russia, those Americans whom we view as wrongfully detained,” Price said. . “This has been a priority for Secretary Blinken since the early days of his tenure.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke for the first time about Griner’s arrest ahead of the NBA draft lottery.

“We have been in contact with the White House, State Department, hostage negotiators, all levels of government and also through the private sector. Our No. 1 priority is her health and safety and getting her out of Russia,” he said.

Mercury center Brittney Griner takes a break during the Seattle Storm game Sept. 3, 2019, in Phoenix.

Mercury center Brittney Griner takes a break during the Seattle Storm game Sept. 3, 2019, in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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Griner faces 10 years in prison if convicted in Russia. The Kremlin reportedly floated the idea of ​​a prisoner swap for the basketball player with convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout being one of them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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