Today’s conviction and sentencing by a Russian court of U.S. citizen Brittney Griner to nine years in prison further compounds the injustice of her wrongful detention. This step puts a spotlight on our significant concerns with Russia’s legal system and the Russian government’s use of wrongful detentions to advance its own agenda, using individuals as political pawns.
Nothing about today’s decision changes our determination that Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained, and we will continue working to bring Brittney and fellow wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan home. This is an absolute priority of mine and the Department’s.
We will also continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia.
Russia, and any country engaging in wrongful detention, represents a threat to the safety of everyone traveling, working, and living abroad. The United States opposes this practice everywhere.