A Russian court decided this Thursday, March 17, to extend until May 19 the arrest of the American basketball star Brittney Griner, arrested in February at the Moscow airport and suspected of transporting narcotics, according to Russian state media.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion, was detained with “vaping material and a liquid that had a particular odor,” Russia’s federal customs service said in a statement.
The Khimki court, on the outskirts of Moscow, rejected the arguments of the player’s lawyers, who sought to demonstrate the illegal and excessively severe nature of her arrest, reports the government press agency Ria Novosti.
“However, they have not globally answered the accusation of drug trafficking,” adds the agency.
After Griner’s arrest, which occurs against a background of international tensions linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States basketball federation -USA Basketball- had shown its “concern” about the “security” and “well-being ” of the player, who is exposed to a sentence of between 5 and 10 years in prison.
Her club, the Phoenix Mercury, and the American Professional Players Union (WNBPA) claimed to be “informed” of Brittney Griner’s situation.
Griner, 31 years old and 2.06 meters tall, actively participated in the achievement of the third Phoenix title in the WNBA, in 2014.
Numerous WNBA players participate in European leagues when there is no championship in the United States and some of them do so in Russia and Ukraine.
Free Brittney. https://t.co/wqQrye2T3J
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 16, 2022
The center has also played for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA’s breaks since 2015, helping the club to three Russian national titles and EuroLeague Women’s championships in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) March 5, 2022
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The case of basketball star Brittney Griner: (What is known so far about her detention in Russia)