American women’s basketball star Brittney Griner has had her detention in Russia extended by a district court. Griner has been detained for drug offenses since mid-February after officials at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, allegedly found vaping cartridges containing banned hash oil in her luggage.
As Russian media TASS reported on Tuesday, his detention period has been extended until at least July 2, after a representative of the Khimki court said the development occurred at “inquiry request.”
In a bid to win Griner’s freedom before she goes to court, Griner’s wife, Cherelle, called on US President Joe Biden and his administration to step in and use his political influence after the US government listed it as “wrongfully detained” May 3.
“I keep hearing that, you know, he’s got the power. He’s a political pawn,” Cherelle Griner told Good Morning America. “So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.” she asked.
According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, a US consular officer was able to meet with Griner on the 19th of last month and found Griner “continue to do as well as could be expected in these extremely difficult circumstances”.
Griner’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, said they managed to meet with State Department officials and Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Greg Stanton when they were in the capital Washington DC.
“We’re here to do everything we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything that happens in our lives,” Mercury star and Griner teammate Diana Taurasi said in a statement after the meetings, adding that they wanted their colleague “to return as soon as possible” Which one is “number one on our list”.
Cherelle Griner said she has not spoken to his wife since her arrest on February 17, when her mobile phone was confiscated, although the couple have been in contact by mail.
Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo airport in February after a search of the 31-year-old’s bag found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which are illegal in Russia.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Griner had arrived in Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason – something she had done in previous years.
Griner could face a five- to 10-year prison term if convicted of drug trafficking.
“We have not received any complaints about the conditions of detention of our client”, Griner’s attorney, Alexander Boykov, told the AP during his final hearing in May.
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