Basketball-USA WNBA All-Star Griner’s Detention in Russia Extended -TASS

FILE PHOTO: Brittney Griner of the United States gestures during a game against Australia
FILE PHOTO: Brittney Griner of the United States gestures during a match against Australia at Saitama Super Arena in their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Women’s Basketball quarterfinals match in Saitama, Japan August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

March 17, 2022

(Reuters) – The jailing of seven-time WNBA All-Star player Brittney Griner in Russia for possession of vape cartridges containing hash oil has been extended until May 19, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

TASS reported that the Moscow region’s Khimkinsky court decided to detain Griner for at least two more months.

“The court granted the investigation request and extended the detention of US citizen Griner until May 19,” TASS quoted the court as saying.

Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission, a semi-official body with access to Russian prisons, told TASS Griner shares a cell with two other women with no criminal record, adding that Griner’s only problem is that the prison beds are too short for hers 6’7″ frame.

Without identifying Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, Russia’s Customs Service said earlier this month that a player was arrested in February after arriving at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on a flight from New York.

TASS identified the player as a Griner, citing a source. The Phoenix Mercury team said, without elaborating, “We are aware of and closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia.”

A scan of the player’s luggage revealed cartridges containing “liquid containing hash oil” and a criminal case has been opened with a possible sentence of five to 10 years in prison, the customs service said.

It wasn’t clear when Griner, who is playing in Russia during the WNBA winter break, was arrested in February.

At a joint press conference with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration had assigned an embassy team to work on Griner’s case.

Griner has won Olympic gold medals with the US national teams in 2016 and 2021.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis) Basketball-USA WNBA All-Star Griner’s Detention in Russia Extended -TASS


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