Brittney Griner Detention In Russia Extended

Brittney Griner, an American basketball star who was detained in Moscow on allegations of drug smuggling, will remain in custody for at least two more months, according to Russian media reports on Thursday.

A Russian court spokesperson told the Kremlin-controlled press agency TASS, “The court granted the request of the investigation and extended the period of detention of the US citizen Griner until May 19.”

The news was also reported by the outlet Mash, which shared a video on Telegram showing Griner, 31, walking down a hallway with two guards.

A person close to the matter told BuzzFeed News that Griner is doing okay and has been meeting regularly with her Russian legal team while in detention. The investigation is still ongoing, and a trial date has not been set yet.

If the investigation is not complete by May, a reassessment will be done to determine if she should continue to be detained pending trial.

A State Department spokesperson said, “We are closely engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s legal team.”

Griner, a WNBA star and two-time Olympic Gold medalist, was arrested on February 17 after customs officials allegedly found cartridges of hashish oil in her luggage at an airport outside Moscow. She could face up to 10 years in prison.

Griner is a member of the Phoenix Mercury but had been playing in the off-season for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg team.

According to Ekaterina Kalugina with Moscow’s Public Monitoring Commission, a group that observes prison conditions, Griner has been calm and has been reading books while in detention. She mentioned that Griner struggled with the size of the beds because of her height, as she is almost 7 feet tall.

The US consul has not met with Griner, but the State Department spokesperson stated that it is because the Russians have not allowed it. The spokesperson insisted that the Russian government provide consular access to all US citizens detained in Russia.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mentioned that he is limited in what he can say publicly about Griner’s case due to privacy considerations. However, US officials will provide “every possible assistance” to any American detained abroad.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, has asked for privacy as the family works to bring her home.

It is believed that officials and Griner’s family are being strategically silent in order to avoid making her a high-profile prisoner whom the Russians will want to keep as a political pawn while the West imposes sanctions on the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who was detained in Iran for 18 months, told CNN that he suspected Griner, like him, was being held on trumped-up charges. He called it “the most audacious hostage-taking by a state imaginable.”

What do you think?

Written by Western Reader

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