Moscow court orders Brittney Griner to be held in jail for another 18 days

A Russian court on Tuesday extended the pretrial detention of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner on drug trafficking charges until Jul...


A Russian court on Tuesday extended the pretrial detention of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner on drug trafficking charges until July 2, pushing her stay in prison beyond four months, according to the official TASS news agency.

The Moscow region Khimki court granted the 18-day extension at the request of investigators, the agency said citing the court’s press service. It is typical for Russian courts to prolong detention several times until trial. Ms Griner’s lawyer, Aleksandr Boikov, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The American basketball star was arrested four months ago after Russian officials said they found vape cartridges containing traces of hash oil in her luggage as she walked through Sheremetyevo airport, the Moscow’s main international airport. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Ms Griner was arrested on February 17, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine, but authorities did not reveal she was detained until days after the war began, raising fears that not be used as a bargaining chip in the global crisis. There has been speculation that once convicted, Ms Griner could be part of a prisoner swap with the United States.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ms. Griner plays for the Phoenix Mercury and US officials meet with the team on Monday to discuss efforts to secure his release. In May, the State Department said it determined Ms Griner had been “wrongfully detained.”

When taken into custody, Ms Griner was returning to Russia to perform for UMMC Yekaterinburg, a professional women’s basketball team. Many WNBA players supplement their income the league’s off-season playing internationally.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Moscow court orders Brittney Griner to be held in jail for another 18 days
Moscow court orders Brittney Griner to be held in jail for another 18 days
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