Brittney Griner’s Detention Case: Live Updates

Brittney Griner’s Detention Case: Live Updates

MOSCOW (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner’s attorney said Friday her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by a month.

Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press he believed the relatively brief extension of the detention indicated the case would soon come to court. She has been in detention for almost three months.

She appeared for the brief hearing handcuffed, her dreadlocks covered with a red hoodie, and her face bowed.

Boykov said: “We have not received any complaints from our client about the conditions of detention.”

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested at a Moscow airport after allegedly finding vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil in her luggage, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Biden administration says Griner, 31, is being wrongly jailed. The WNBA and US officials have been working toward their release with no visible progress.

The Russians have labeled the Griner case a criminal offense without making any political associations.

But it comes amid Moscow’s war in Ukraine, which has pushed US-Russian relations to their lowest since the Cold War.

Despite the strain, Russia and the United States last month carried out an unexpected prisoner swap – swapping ex-Marine Trevor Reed for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who is serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the US, while While the US doesn’t normally do this for such an exchange, the deal came about in part because Yaroshenko had already served a long chunk of his sentence.

The Russians may consider Griner as a potential part of another such exchange.

The State Department said last week it now considers Griner wrongly imprisoned, a change in classification that suggests the US government will be more active in trying to secure her release, even while the lawsuit is ongoing. The status change places her case under the purview of the President’s Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who is responsible for negotiating the release of hostages and Americans deemed wrongfully detained.

The case is also now being worked on by a center headed by Bill Richardson, the former US ambassador to the United Nations who helped release several hostages and inmates, including Reed.

It’s not entirely clear why the US government, which had been more cautious for weeks, classified Griner as a wrongful detainee. But under federal law, there are a number of factors that go into such characterization, including whether the detention is based on being an American or whether the detainee has been denied due process

US State Department spokesman Ned Price has confirmed that US Ambassador John Sullivan had a meeting with Russian colleagues, but would not say whether Griner was discussed or discuss her case further.

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