Mercury C Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia extended
Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia was extended to at least May 19, according to Russian news agency TASS.
Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for allegedly carrying vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. The decision of extending her detention came after Griner appeared virtually in front of a Russian court on Thursday to contest her arrest on drug charges, per the Wall Street Journal.
The Moscow region court on Thursday found that her subsequent arrest was legal, agreeing with the prosecution that it fell within the allowable 48-hour window after her detention.
The court rejected the argument of her lawyer, Alexander Boykov, that since Ms. Griner had been denied a lawyer and consular representation, her detention began as soon as she was stopped and searched on Feb. 17.
The hearing didn’t examine the substance of the case, and it couldn’t be determined whether Ms. Griner would seek to appeal the decision about whether the arrest was lawful.
Per ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, consular officials have not had access to Griner.
According to Reuters, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission who has access to prisons told TASS that Griner was sharing a prison cell with two other women and had no issues other than “the prison beds were too short for her 6-foot-7 frame.”
The exact date of Griner’s arrest was not previously known.
She has played professionally during the WNBA offseason in Russia for the past seven seasons.
Griner last played on Jan. 29 for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian team, before a scheduled break in early February for FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments.
The Mercury have said they are aware and monitoring the arrest.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the government was working on Griner’s case but gave little details after the center’s arrest became known to the public earlier in March.
“There’s only so much I can say given the privacy considerations at this point. Whenever an American is detained anywhere in the world, we of course stand ready to provide every possible assistance, and that includes in Russia,” Blinken said. “We have an embassy team that’s working on the cases of other Americans who are detained in Russia. We’re doing everything we can to see to it that their rights are upheld and respected.”