A court in Moscow has extended the detention of WNBA player Brittney Griner, according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
Griner, 31, was detained at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 and arrested on drug smuggling charges. Despite being one of the WNBA’s most recognizable athletes, the basketball player’s detainment in Russia thus far has had some refer to her as a political hostage, due to it preceding Russia’s increased tensions with the United States over the invasion of Ukraine.
As MADAMENOIRE previously reported, Russian authorities claim the basketball star’s luggage contained vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis.
CNN noted the situation’s more recent development and that according to TASS “The court granted the request of the investigation and extended the period of detention of the U.S. citizen Griner until May 19.”
Tom Firestone, a former U.S. Justice Department legal resident advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, shared with ESPN that delay for more investigation time in Griner’s case is standard in Russia and that the player could be held without trial anywhere from 12-18 months.
If found guilty, the Phoenix Mercury player faces up to 10 years in Russian prison.
While the situation may seem bleak, Griner has received tons of support from those anticipating her safe return.
A Change.org petition created by sports writer Tamryn Spruill now has 64,192 signatures.
On March 7, Griner’s wife Cherelle penned a message on social media to the basketball player that read,” We love you babe! People say ‘stay busy.’ Yet, there’s not a task in this world that could keep any of us from worrying about you. My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats every day that goes by. I miss your voice. I miss your presence. You’re our person! There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family ♥️.”
We’ll keep you updated as this story progresses.