Brittney Griner’s detention extended for another 18 days in Russia
Brittney Griner’s pretrial detention was extended by 18 days on Tuesday, which will keep her in Russian custody until at least July 2, a state news agency said via The New York Times.
This marks the third time the Phoenix Mercury star’s pretrial detention was extended by a Moscow court, something that is reportedly typical in Russia. This latest extension was granted at the request of investigators, per the report.
Griner was arrested Feb. 17 after officials claimed they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport. She is facing up to 10 years in prison.
[UPDATE: Brittney Griner released from Russian prison 10 months after arrest]
The State Department has since classified Griner as a wrongfully detained citizen, and there is wide speculation that she is being used as a political pawn amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Griner was arrested before Russia invaded, but news of her detainment was not made public until afterward.
Russia has reportedly offered a deal to release Griner in exchange for notorious arms trafficker Viktor Bout, who has earned the nickname the “Merchant of Death.”
Griner has been largely isolated since she was arrested more than 115 days ago, though she has been able to answer certain emails from WNBA players and others through a special account set up by her agent.
The State Department met with the Mercury on Monday ahead of their game in Washington against the Mystics.
“It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home ... She's our teammate, she's an American and we want her back home," Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said.