Brittney Griner, the American basketball star detained in Moscow on allegations of drug smuggling, will stay in custody for at the least two extra months, Russian media reported Thursday.
“The court docket granted the request of the investigation and prolonged the interval of detention of the US citizen Griner till Could 19,” a Russian court docket spokesperson informed the Kremlin-controlled press company TASS.
The outlet Mash additionally reported the information, sharing a video on Telegram displaying Griner, 31, strolling down a hallway with two guards.
An individual near the matter informed BuzzFeed Information Griner was OK and has been assembly repeatedly together with her Russian authorized group whereas in detention. The investigation remains to be ongoing, and a trial date has not been set, the particular person stated.
If the investigation is not full by Could, whether or not she’s going to proceed to be detained pending trial shall be reassessed then.
A State Division spokesperson informed BuzzFeed Information, “We’re carefully engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s authorized group.”
The arrest of the WNBA star and two-time Olympic Gold medalist was first reported on March 5, however Rep. Colin Allred of Texas, a member of the Home International Affairs Committee, has stated she was arrested on Feb. 17.
She was detained after customs officers allegedly discovered cartridges of cannabis oil in her baggage at an airport exterior Moscow. She might resist 10 years in jail.
Griner is a member of the Phoenix Mercury however had been taking part in within the low season for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg group.
TASS quoted Ekaterina Kalugina with Moscow’s Public Monitoring Fee, a bunch that observes jail situations, as saying she had met with Griner.
Based on Kalugina, the US consul has not met with Griner, however the State Division spokesperson stated it is as a result of the Russians haven’t allowed this.
“We insist the Russian authorities present consular entry to all U.S. residents detained in Russia, together with these in pre-trial detention, as Brittney Griner is,” the spokesperson stated.
“Now we have repeatedly requested for consular entry to those detainees and have constantly been denied entry,” the spokesperson stated. “Russia should abide by its authorized obligations and permit us to supply consular providers for US residents detained in Russia.”
Kalugina stated Griner was calm and had been studying books whereas in detention, however had struggled with the scale of the beds as a result of she is sort of 7 toes tall.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated he’s restricted in what he can say publicly about Griner’s case as a result of privateness concerns, however that US officers will present “each potential help” to any American detained overseas.
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, has requested for privateness because the household works to deliver her house.
It is believed that officers and Griner’s household are being strategically silent with the intention to keep away from making her a high-profile prisoner whom the Russians will need to maintain as a political pawn because the West sanctions the nation over its invasion of Ukraine.
Jason Rezaian, the Washington Submit reporter who was detained in Iran for 18 months, informed CNN he suspected that Griner, like him, was being held on trumped-up costs.
“It is probably the most audacious hostage-taking by a state conceivable,” Rezaian stated.