WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia extended for 2 months
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A Moscow court has extended WNBA superstar Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia on drug charges for two months. The Khimki regional court in Moscow confirmed to CBS News that it had approved the ongoing investigation and extended the term of Griner’s detention until May 19.
Griner was arrested on drug charges after allegedly carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into the country.
Griner, 31, appeared in court on Thursday as the decision was made. She was detained in February and will remain in a pre-trial detention center near Moscow until her next court appearance.
CBS News sought comment from her agency on the extended detention, but did not immediately hear back.
Griner, who had flown in from New York, was detained on February 19 after customs inspectors at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport said they found the cartridges with hash oil on her, according to Russia’s state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.
She faces a possible sentence of five to ten years in prison on the charges.
Her detention has drawn outrage in the U.S., with lawmakers, fellow sports figures and fans calling for her release. Amid the ongoing Russian invasion into Ukraine, Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee urged Russian authorities to set her free and even raised the issue with President Biden.
Griner’s wife wrote a heartfelt post earlier this month, saying she was “hurting,” but adding: “We await the day to love on you as a family.”
The Phoenix Mercury star has played in Russia for the last seven winters, earning more than $1 million per season — more than quadruple her WNBA salary, according to The Associated Press. She last played for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on January 29, before the league took a two-week break in early February for the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments.
Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star, won two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA championship and a national college championship.