Colin Allred: US Representative Says Brittney Griner Case Is ‘extremely Concerning’ ​and That Her Consular Access ​has Been Blocked – CNN

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Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Brittney Griner has been arrested in Russia on drug charges when customs officials found cannabis oil in her luggage. CNN’s Rosa Flores reports.

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SAITAMA, JAPAN - JULY 27: Brittney Griner #15 of Team United States prepares to shoot a free throw against Nigeria during the second half of a Women's Preliminary Round Group B game on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on July 27, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina speaks to CNN’s Christina Macfarlane about president Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the courage of Ukrainian president Zelenskyy.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine plays a backhand in her third round singles match against  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during day five of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 16:  Karren Bardsley of Manchester City laddies team presents the Women's Super League 1 trophy to the Manchester City fans prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at Etihad Stadium on May 16, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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On May 9th, 2019, with just seconds to go, Ajax were on the verge of making their first Champions League final since 1995. What happened next was pure heartbreak. Don Riddell has been hearing about that moment which just might help propel the team of 2022 back to European glory.

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Ajax's Brazilian forward David Neres (L) celebrates with Ajax's Brazilian forward Antony after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C second leg football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Sporting CP at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on December 7, 2021. (Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

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Bryson DeChambeau is perhaps the most talked-about, controversial man in golf. Having put on 40 lbs of muscle during the 2020 Covid lockdown in pursuit of more distance, he has become one of the longest hitters in the history of the game. He explains his surprise at the controversy his transformation has received and describes the key to hitting the ball 400 yards.

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LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 27: Bryson DeChambeau hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the second round of The Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 27, 2022 in La Jolla, California. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin talks to Coy Wire about her disappointing Beijing 2022 and looks forward to the future.

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2022 Beijing Olympics - Alpine Skiing - Women's Alpine Combined Slalom - National Alpine Skiing Centre, Yanqing district, Beijing, China - February 17, 2022.  Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States falls during her run. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 06: Abby Roque #18 of Team Adidas speaks with the media during the Dream Gap Tour against Team Women's Sports Foundation at United Center on March 06, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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CNN  — 

Two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist Brittney Griner has been held in Russia for three weeks “without official government access to her​,” says US Representative Colin Allred, adding that was “unusual and extremely concerning.”

Russian authorities arrested Griner last month, saying she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance – an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

It’s still not clear exactly ​where Griner is being detained now.

Speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon, the Texas congressman said the US Embassy has requested consular access to her but has been denied for three weeks.

Allred acknowledged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looms “over the entire issue” of getting Griner back to the US.

“For Brittney’s sake, we don’t want her to become a part of this kind of political battle that’s going on, and we want to make sure that her rights are respected and that we are able to get access to her, and that she can get through the process and get home as quickly as possible,” Allred told CNN on Thursday.

Allred said Griner has been in contact with her Russian lawyer, who is in touch with her agent and her family back home.

“So we do know that she’s okay,” Allred said, adding that he’s also been in contact with the player’s agent.

CNN has reached out to Russian officials and the US Embassy in Moscow for comment on Griner’s consular access but has not heard back.

“They should just know that our government, the State Department, folks like myself in Congress on the Foreign Affairs Committee, we’re gonna do everything we can to get her home, to get any other American who’s been detained unjustly home​,” Allred said, speaking about the families of Americans who are in state custody.

The US State Department has been “working very diligently” on Griner’s case, spokesperson Ned Price said at a Friday briefing.

“We’ve been in close touch with those around her, providing all forms of appropriate support and will continue to do that,” he said, but declined to provide further details.

READ: UK sanctions Russian oligarch and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Brittney Griner poses for photographs with her gold medal during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Griner’s whereabouts aren’t publicly known. CNN has reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment but has not heard back.

A member of the US House Armed Services Committee said this week that it will be “very difficult” to get Griner out of Russia as things stand.

“Our diplomatic relationships with Russia are nonexistent at the moment,” Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California told CNN on Monday.

“Perhaps during the various negotiations that may take place, she might be able to be one of the solutions. I don’t know.”

He also noted that “Russia has some very, very strict LGBT rules and laws” – though it’s not clear whether those rules and laws might impact Griner’s case.

Russia has passed LGBTQ-related legislation and outlawed the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors.”

In an Instagram post, Griner’s wife described the agony of waiting.

“People say ‘stay busy.’ Yet, there’s not a task in this world that could keep any of us from worrying about you. My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats everyday that goes by,” Cherelle Griner posted Monday.

“There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting.”

Over the weekend, she thanked supporters and asked for privacy “as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely.”

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