Biden signs executive order to deter wrongful detentions and the taking of American hostages abroad

The White House on Tuesday announced an executive order aimed at bolstering administration efforts to “repatriate hostages and wrongfully detained U.S. nationals,” including sanctioning those involved in hostage-taking.

Driving the news: “This [executive order] expands the tools available to deter and disrupt hostage-taking and wrongful detentions,” the White House said in a statement.

  • The administration’s action also includes a new State Department travel advisory to advise U.S. travelers “of the risk of improper detention by a foreign government.”

The big picture: The move comes amid growing pressure on the US government to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home.

  • Griner was arrested in Russia in February after authorities found vape cartridges in her luggage.
  • Griner’s lawyers told a Russian court last week that doctors in the United States prescribed the WBNA star medical cannabis two years ago for chronic pain.

Between the lines: Hostage families have criticized the Biden administration for not doing more to bring their loved ones home.

  • “As we always try to do, we provided the White House with a simple plan to engage with families over a week ago,” said Jonathan Franks, spokesperson for the Bring Our Families Home campaign, in a press release.
  • “Instead, the White House is taking executive action to direct itself to follow existing law. The families continue to await a response to their requests to meet with President Biden.”

Go further… WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial begins in Russia

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