Brittney Griner, the American basketball star detained in Moscow on allegations of drug smuggling, will stay in custody for at the very least 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 advised the Kremlin-controlled press company 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 advised BuzzFeed Information Griner was OK and has been assembly commonly together with her Russian authorized workforce whereas in detention. The investigation continues to be ongoing, and a trial date has not been set, the particular person mentioned.
If the investigation is not full by Could, whether or not she’s going to proceed to be detained pending trial can be reassessed then.
A State Division spokesperson advised BuzzFeed Information, “We’re intently engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s authorized workforce.”
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 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 outdoors Moscow. She may 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 workforce.
TASS quoted Ekaterina Kalugina with Moscow’s Public Monitoring Fee, a bunch that observes jail situations, as saying she had met with Griner.
In line with Kalugina, the US consul has not met with Griner, however the State Division spokesperson mentioned 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 mentioned.
“We’ve got repeatedly requested for consular entry to those detainees and have persistently been denied entry,” the spokesperson mentioned. “Russia should abide by its authorized obligations and permit us to supply consular providers for US residents detained in Russia.”
Kalugina mentioned Griner was calm and had been studying books whereas in detention, however had struggled with the scale of the beds as a result of she is nearly 7 ft tall.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mentioned he’s restricted in what he can say publicly about Griner’s case on account of privateness concerns, however that US officers will present “each doable help” to any American detained overseas.
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, has requested for privateness because the household works to carry her house.
It is believed that officers and Griner’s household are being strategically silent as a way 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 essentially the most audacious hostage-taking by a state conceivable,” Rezaian mentioned.