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Imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner’s confinement in Russian prison has been extended until May 19, Russian state media reported Thursday.
Griner, 31 who was arrested in February on an undisclosed date by Russian lawmen on suspicion of carrying a cannabis-filled vape on her way into the country, is being held captive in the unknown prison on drug charges.
Weeks after the American’s arrest, Russian state news agency TASS reported that 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.
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 ten 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.
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.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Brittney Griner is shown in her booking photo released by Russian state media after her arrest. It is shrouded in mystery and no one knows where the basketball star is now
Griner, 31 was arrested in February by Russian authorities on suspicion of carrying a cannabis-filled vape on her way into the country, and is now being held in an unknown prison. Here Griner is shown playing for Russian Premiere League side UMM Ekaterinburg in 2019
Source: Daily Mail