Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for nearly three months now, but her detention is being extended another month after appearing in court on Friday. Her lawyer has confirmed the extension, adding that the Russian Court denied their appeal to be transferred to house arrest.
Griner’s lawyer, Aleksandr Boikov, stated that he ‘did not receive any complaints about the detention conditions from our client,’ according to an Associated Press update. He hopes that the one-month extension is a sign that her case will come to trial sooner rather than later.
It was a mere week before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Griner was taken into custody. Russian officials cited her for drug charges after vape oil cartridges were ‘allegedly’ found in your bag. The charges could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted.
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Just one week ago, President Biden reclassified Brittney Griner as being ‘wrongfully detained’ and is committed to bringing her home safely as soon as possible. Bill Richardson, who has a history of bringing Americans home, is currently working on bringing Griner back to the US.
This comes just a few weeks after Trevor Reed, an American who was wrongfully detained for nearly 1,000 days in Russia, finally returned home in a prisoner exchange with Russia. Prisoner exchanges are something the US usually tries to avoid, but Reed’s case called for an exception.
It’s possible that Russia is using Brittney Griner, as well as Paul Whelan (an American that’s been detained in Russia since 2018), in hopes of achieving another prisoner exchange with the US. Talks between the United States and Russia are ongoing, though their context is unknown.
WNBA Season Starts Without Its Biggest Star, Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner is one of the WNBA’s most decorated players of all-time. She’s one of the game’s superstars and has been ever since entering the league as the Phoenix Mercury’s first overall draft pick in 2013. With nine seasons under her belt, she’s a seven-time All-Star with a Hall of Fame resume.
During the offseasons, Griner normally travels to Russia to play in the Russian Premier League – to stay ready for the WNBA season, but also in pursuit of better money. That’s what brought her to Russia this offseason, but she was detained in the airport on her way back to the US.
On May 6th, the WNBA regular season began and for the first time since 2012, they did so without one of their biggest stars – Brittney Griner. It’s a big loss for the WNBA and that has loomed over the start of the season as players around the league worry about their friend.
In nine seasons, Griner has averaged 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.8 blocks, and 30.9 minutes in 254 games played. She’s coming off one of her best seasons where she averaged 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds (career high), 2.7 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game.
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It’s unclear where Brittney Griner goes from here. Until her case goes to trial, we won’t have any idea of how this ends or when Griner will return home. For now, we must keep her in our prayers and hope the matter is handled justly. With international tensions high, anything can happen.
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