American basketball participant Brittney Griner might be detained in Russia for at the least one other month following her arrest on drug smuggling costs.
Griner, 31, was arrested on February 17 at Sheremetyevo Worldwide Airport after officers allegedly found two vape cartridges in her baggage containing cannabis oil. ‘Hash oil’ is an unlawful substance in Russia, the punishment for which may carry a most of 10 years in jail.
Almost three months following her arrest, the Phoenix Mercury heart—who additionally represents UMMC Ekaterinburg within the Russian Premier League —continues to be ready to go to trial. Her lawyer, Alexander Boikov, advised the Related Press the comparatively quick extension interval recommended her case may very well be heard quickly, nevertheless.
“The courtroom granted the petition of the investigation and prolonged the time period of detention of U.S. citizen Griner till June 18,” confirmed the courtroom, in response to Russian information company TASS. An announcement offered to CNN claimed Griner had been “caught red-handed whereas attempting to smuggle hash oil.”
A former school star at Baylor, Griner was drafted by Phoneix in 2013 and is recognised as one of many largest names within the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She’s additionally gained two Olympic gold medals with america, main her nation to victory at Rio 2016 earlier than efficiently defending their crown in Tokyo final 12 months.
Griner’s detention has been criticised by U.S. officers, who contend the athlete has been “wrongfully imprisoned” and must be launched. Tensions between Russia and the West are at a excessive amid the previous’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Tass additionally cited an unnamed authorities official within the Public Monitoring Fee, who stated talks are underway for Griner to be traded for Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout. Bout—who earned the moniker ‘The Service provider of Loss of life’—was arrested as part of a 2008 sting operation in Thailand, after which he was extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to 25 years in jail.
Bout, 55, was charged with conspiracy to ship weapons to a terrorist group based mostly in Colombia. The general public outcry for Griner’s launch has been widespread, however her arrest provides Russia an enormous alternative to get well considered one of their belongings through the change.
“I need to take a second to reiterate the WNBA’s assist for Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner,” the WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, stated in an April assertion. “Please know that getting her dwelling safely continues to be our prime precedence and whereas we face a very advanced problem, there’s power in group, particularly the WNBA.”