How Russia’s Arrest of Basketball Star Brittney Griner Puts the Spotlight on ‘Hostage Diplomacy’

  • Barbara Plett Usher
  • BBC, correspondent at the US State Department.

A fan holds signs in support of Brittney Griner

image source, Getty Images


WNBA and Griner fans have defended his release.

The arrest in Russia of basketball star and Olympic champion Brittney Griner has put a spotlight on US hostage diplomacy, a problem that normally lurks in the shadows.

He also encouraged families with loved ones in detention to make it more public.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February when vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is illegal in Russia, were found in his luggage.

Months later, the sports star pleaded guilty to drug-related charges, although he said he did not intend to break any laws.

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