Russian authorities on Friday extended WNBA star Brittney Griner’s pretrial detention by one month, her lawyer told the Associated Press.
Griner, a seven-time WNBA all-star for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested in February at an airport outside Moscow. Russian authorities allege that she illegally brought vape cartridges containing hashish oil into the country, a crime that could carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Griner was returning to Russia to rejoin UMMC Ekaterinburg, for which she plays during the WNBA offseason.
It’s unclear when Griner will face trial, though her lawyer told the AP that he believes Friday’s extension means a trial could be imminent.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration characterized Griner’s arrest as a “wrongful detainment,” an official designation that indicates it will no longer wait for the WNBA star’s case to proceed through the Russian legal system and will take more aggressive steps to negotiate her release.
Signifying Griner’s detainment as “wrongful” means the U.S. government may consider her arrest to be “solely or substantially because he or she is a United States national,” according to the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, which Congress passed in 2020 to codify how the U.S. government handles international kidnapping and detention cases. The “wrongful” designation also could be applied if the U.S. government has doubts about the credibility or fairness of the jailing country’s judicial system, or if it believes the U.S. prisoner is not receiving humane treatment. This article is by the Washington Post, read more articles like this here.
Photo: WNBA star Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom outside Moscow after a hearing Friday at which her detention was extended by 30 days. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)