Russia extends detention of basketball player Brittney Griner for months

The US basketball player Brittney Griner will remain under arrest Moscow for at least two more months after a court granted investigators an extension, according to the Russian state news agency.

“The court granted the request of the investigation and extended the period of detention of the American citizen Griner until May 19,” the court said, reported TASS.

the star of the WNBA31, was detained by the Russian Federal Customs Service at an airport near Moscow in February on charges of possession of drugs.

She shares a cell with two other prisoners at a detention center in the city of Khimki, about 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) northwest of central Moscow, according to the human rights group Public Monitoring Commission.

TASS quotes Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of the group, as saying that Griner did not complain about the conditions during a recent visit to the center.

WNBA star Brittney Griner appears in a photo released by Russian authorities after her arrest in Moscow. Griner is accused by Russian law enforcement of trying to transport drugs


“The only objective problem was the height of the basketball player: 203 centimeters [80 pulgadas]”, he quoted TASS to the activist. “The cell beds are clearly designed for a shorter person.”

The two-time gold medalist and star of the Phoenix Mercury played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia when Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Kalugina added that Griner’s two English-speaking cellmates, also detained on drug-related charges, have acted as interpreters for prison guards and helped her order books, including novels by Russian writer FM Dostoevsky and a biography of the members of the Rolling Stones.

“Also, for an unknown reason, the US consul does not come to [ver a Griner]although the administration of the pre-trial detention center is ready to create all the conditions for a visit”.

The White House has been reluctant to comment on whether his detention was being used by Putin as a “bargaining currency” in Russia’s war with Ukraine.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated at her daily briefing that discussing the details of the Griner case is “not constructive in bringing people home.”

“Of course, we’ve seen the reports, I can’t speak to the specifics as we don’t have a Privacy Act waiver, but our goal is always to bring home American citizens who are detained in foreign countries, so that It will continue to be our focus and that is what we would like the final result to be”, he stressed.

The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has also been circumspect when speaking of his arrest for “large-scale drug transport”, which according to New York Times It’s about oil cannabis used in vaporizers.

(Russian Federal Customs)

“I can only say a few things, given privacy considerations at this time,” he mentioned earlier this month.

However, former diplomats compared it to a “hostage situation”. Daniel Fried, who was assistant secretary of state for Europe and US ambassador to Poland, told Washington Post that it would not be surprising if Griner were framed for political gain.

“I can’t say definitively that I haven’t, but the first thought I had when I read about [la detención] is that this sounds like the taking of an American hostage, ”said the assistant secretary of state for Europe under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“The US embassy and the US government have been aware of the possibility of the Russians using the Americans in Moscow as a bargaining chip.”

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Russia extends detention of basketball player Brittney Griner for months