MOSCOW ( Associated Press) — WNBA star Brittney Griner’s preventive detention in Russia has been extended by a month, her lawyer said Friday.
Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press that he believes the relatively short length of detention is an indication that the case will go to trial soon. The 31-year-old basketball player has been detained for almost three months.
Griner appeared for the brief hearing in handcuffs, her dreadlocks covered by a red hoodie, and her head bowed.
“We did not receive any complaints about our client’s detention conditions,” Boykov said.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at a Moscow airport after allegedly found in her luggage were vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The administration of US President Joe Biden says Griner is being unfairly detained. WNBA and US officials have worked for her release, with no visible progress.
Russian authorities have described Griner’s case as a criminal offence, without making any political association.
But the case comes amid the Russian war in Ukraine that has brought US-Russian relations to their lowest level since the Cold War.
Despite the tensions, Russia and the United States carried out an unexpected prisoner swap last month — swapping former Marine Trevor Reed for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. Joined. While the US government does not usually accept such trades, it made the deal in part because Yaroshenko had already served a large part of his sentence.
The Russians may view Griner as a potential party to another such exchange.