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