Brittney’s Griner’s pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended, a lawyer for the WNBA star has told the Associated Press.
Griner had been detained in February at a Moscow airport on drug charges after customs officials alleged they found cannabis oil in a vape pen she had in her possession. The charge carries a possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
In May, the U.S. government reclassified Griner as being “wrongfully detained” by Russia, a sign that it believes the charges against Griner are irrelevant to her detainment.
Griner is one of three Americans detained in Russia over the past few years whose cases have garnered international attention. Former Marine Trevor Reed, who’d been detained in Russia in 2019 for an alleged altercation with a Russian police officer, had been released in a prison swap between the two countries in April.
Paul Whelan, a former security executive, has been detained since 2018 on charges of espionage. Both he and Reed have denied the allegations for which they were charged.
ESPN had previously reported that Griner was scheduled for a hearing on May 19. However, the extension was announced following a brief hearing on Friday in which Griner appeared, handcuffed and in a red hoodie.
Her lawyer, Alexander Boykov, has told the Associated Press that he believes she will go to trial soon, based on the length of the extension.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and current player for the Phoenix Mercury, had been in Russia during the WNBA off season, where she plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women’s Premier League.