Brittney Griner, the American basketball star detained in Moscow on allegations of drug smuggling, will stay in custody for a minimum of two extra months, Russian media reported Thursday.
“The courtroom granted the request of the investigation and prolonged the interval of detention of the US citizen Griner till Could 19,” a Russian courtroom spokesperson informed the Kremlin-controlled press agency TASS.
The outlet Mash additionally reported the information, sharing a video on Telegram exhibiting 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 along with her Russian authorized group whereas in detention. The investigation continues 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 will likely 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 withstand 10 years in jail.
Griner is a member of the Phoenix Mercury however had been enjoying within the low season for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg group.
TASS quoted Ekaterina Kalugina with Moscow’s Public Monitoring Fee, a gaggle that observes jail situations, as saying she had met with Griner.
In response to 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.
“We now have repeatedly requested for consular entry to those detainees and have persistently been denied entry,” the spokesperson stated. “Russia should abide by its authorized obligations and permit us to supply consular companies for US residents detained in Russia.”
Kalugina stated Griner was calm and had been studying books whereas in detention, however had struggled with the dimensions of the beds as a result of she is nearly 7 ft tall.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated he’s restricted in what he can say publicly about Griner’s case attributable to privateness concerns, however that US officers will present “each doable help” to any American detained overseas.
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, has asked for privacy because the household works to carry her dwelling.
It is believed that officers and Griner’s household are being strategically silent to be able to keep away from making her a high-profile prisoner whom the Russians will need to preserve as a political pawn because the West sanctions the nation over its invasion of Ukraine.
“It is probably the most audacious hostage-taking by a state conceivable,” Rezaian stated.