griner: Russia extends US basketball star Griner’s detention



Seven-times WNBA All-Star player Brittney Griner‘s detention in Russia for the possession of vape cartridges containing hash oil has been extended until May 19, Russian news agency TASS reported.
TASS said the Khimkinsky court of the Moscow region ruled to detain Griner for at least two more months.
“The court granted the petition of the investigation and extended the term of U.S. citizen Griner’s detention until May 19,” TASS quoted the court as saying.
The WNBA and its players association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of Public Monitoring Commission, a semi-official body with access to Russian prisons, told TASS Griner was sharing a cell with two other women with no previous convictions, adding that Griner’s only issue was that the prison beds were too short for her 6’7″ frame.
Without identifying Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury, the Russian Customs Service said earlier this month a player was detained in February after arriving at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from New York.
TASS identified the player as Griner, citing a source. The Phoenix Mercury team, without elaborating, said: “We are aware of and are closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia.”
A scan of the player’s luggage revealed cartridges containing “liquid with hashish oil”, and a criminal case has been opened carrying a possible sentence of five to 10 years in prison, the customs service said.
It was not clear when in February Griner, who plays in Russia during the WNBA’s winter off-season, was detained.
Her detention was announced after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” designed not to occupy territory but to destroy its neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
Earlier this month, the U.S. warned against travel to Russia and said its embassy there had limited ability to assist citizens.
At a joint press conference with Moldova President Maia Sandu, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration had assigned an embassy team to work on Griner’s case.
Griner has won Olympic gold medals with the U.S. national teams in 2016 and 2021.


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