Nearly three months after she was initially detained in Russia, WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention was extended for another month. The extension was the result of a Friday court hearing outside of Moscow.
“Today’s news on Brittney Griner was not unexpected, and the WNBA continues to work with the U.S. government to get BG home safely and as soon as possible,” the WNBA said in a statement.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price added that diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow spoke with Griner on Friday. They reported she “is doing as well as can be expected in these circumstances.”
Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage. She faces drug smuggling charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
“The Robert Levinson Act, section 302 of that act, does spell out a number of criteria – 11 criteria that are among the factors that we look at in determining whether an American who is detained overseas is held wrongfully or unjustly,” Price said at a daily briefing earlier this month. “You can see for yourself many of those criteria: if there is, for example, an indication of innocence; if the detention is based on being a U.S. national; if it is in violation of the laws of the detaining country; if due process has been sufficiently denied or impaired.”
Russian officials have described Griner’s case as a criminal offense without making any political associations. However, Moscow’s war in Ukraine has brought U.S.-Russia relations to the lowest level since the Cold War.