On Tuesday, a Russian court extended the detention of the WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner for 18 more days on drug smuggling charges, the New Times reports. Because of the latest decision, she will have spent over four months in jail.
According to the report, investigators requested that the Khimki Court of Moscow grant the 18-day extension which is a common practice for Russian courts to extend detention repeatedly until trial.
Back on February 17th, the Phoenix Mercury star was arrested by Russian authorities who claimed she found vape cartridges bearing traces of hash oil in her luggage while she was passing through Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.
Complicating matters even more, Russia's invasion of Ukraine took place just a week after Griner was detained. Some officials are concerned that Americans currently detained in Russia could be used as leverage in the ongoing conflict.
At the time of her arrest, Griner was returning to Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a professional Russian women’s basketball team. During the off-season, numerous WNBA players compete internationally to supplement their incomes.
Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, said that President Joe Biden reached out to her in an interview on Good Morning America.
“I was grateful for the call, he says she’s top priority but I want to see it. At this point I don’t even know who I’d be getting back,”Cherelle said.
On Monday, U.S. officials met with the team to discuss efforts to secure her release; the State Department stated that Griner had been “wrongfully detained.”
“Our position for some time on this has been very clear. Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
If found guilty of the charges, Griner could face up to 10 years.