US school teacher jailed with Brittney Griner


(NewsNation) — While checking up on WNBA player Brittney Griner, a human rights activist was shocked to find another American jailed in Russia.

Sarah Krivanek, a 46-year-old American schoolteacher, was arrested Nov. 11, 2021, after a domestic dispute with her Russian partner, Mikhail Karavaev.

Krivanek sought advice from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and was told she should leave Russia as soon as possible, according to statements obtained by People magazine.

However, the advice backfired when she was stopped at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for an expired Russian visa. Her friends and family haven’t heard from her since.

The abuse appears to be backed up by photos and a voicemail obtained exclusively by NewsNation.

“I want you to know, I loved you. You always took care of me. You always took care of my cats. I’m gonna go to Russian prison because a person beat me up really bad, and I scratched him in his nose with a knife. There is no way to protect yourself here because there’s different rules. So if you don’t hear from me again, I love you,” Krivanek said in a voicemail to her friend Anita Martinez.

During an appearance Wednesday night on NewsNation’s “Banfield,” Martinez said she’s very worried. The last time she spoke with Krivanek on FaceTime was moments before she disappeared at the airport Dec. 15.

“Sarah is a good person. Sarah would never have intentionally tried to hurt someone,” Martinez said.

Krivanek wrote a letter, dated Feb. 7, just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, to an unnamed contact. “Call the Embassy in Washington, D.C., and let them know that an American Citizen is in Russian jail and to this date no one has come to see me,” Krivanek said in the letter reviewed by People.

NewsNation reached out to the U.S. State Department, which was able to confirm the arrest of Krivanek and released the following statement.

“We take our role in assisting U.S. citizens abroad seriously and are monitoring the situation. We continue to urge that Russian authorities allow consistent, timely consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia in line with its legal obligations and allow us to provide consular services for U.S. citizens detained in Russia. Our requests for access are consistently delayed or denied,” an official said in a statement.

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