Brittney Griner, the American basketball star detained in Moscow on allegations of drug smuggling, will stay in custody for no less than 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 instructed the Kremlin-controlled press agency TASS.
The outlet Mash additionally reported the information, sharing a video on Telegram displaying Griner, 31, strolling down a hallway with two guards.
US State Division representatives and Griner’s brokers didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
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 Overseas Affairs Committee, has mentioned 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 probably withstand 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 staff.
TASS quoted Ekaterina Kalugina with Moscow’s Public Monitoring Fee, a gaggle that observes jail circumstances, as saying she had met with Griner.
In line with Kalugina, the US consul has not met with Griner; Allred has beforehand mentioned she had not been granted consular entry.
Kalugina mentioned 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 Anthony Blinken has mentioned 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 doable help” to any American detained overseas.
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, has asked for privacy because the household works to deliver her dwelling.
It is believed that officers and Griner’s household are being strategically silent in an effort to keep away from making her a high-profile prisoner whom the Russians will wish to maintain as a political pawn because the West sanctions the nation over its invasion of Ukraine.
Jason Rezaian, the Washington Publish reporter who was detained in Iran for 18 months, told CNN he suspected that Griner, like him, was being held on trumped-up prices.
“It is essentially the most audacious hostage taking by a state possible,” Rezaian mentioned.