Detained WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was taken into custody by Russian authorities in February, has had her pretrial detention extended by one month as calls for the basketball player’s safe return to the United States continue to grow, Radar has learned.
In a shocking development that has no doubt left Griner, the WNBA, and the Biden Administration reeling, a Russian court ruled on Friday that the 31-year-old basketball star will remain in Russian custody for at least one more month as she awaits trial.
That was the bombshell announcement made by Griner’s lawyer on Friday, who also revealed that despite the setback, the one-month extension suggests the WNBA player’s trial will take place sooner than later.
“We did not receive any complaints about the detention conditions from our client,” Alexander Boykov, Griner’s lawyer, told the Associated Press during an interview on Friday after suggesting the “short” one-month extension indicated his client’s case will go to trial soon.
Photos obtained by the outlet from Friday’s hearing show Griner handcuffed and dressed in a red hoodie with the hood covering her head and dreadlocks. She also kept her head down throughout the entire hearing, making it so her face could not be seen as the court announced their latest ruling.
As RadarOnline.com reported, Griner has been detained in Russian custody for nearly three months after she was arrested around mid-February at a Moscow airport for allegedly attempting to smuggle a marijuana hash oil pen into the country from New York City.
Both the WNBA and President Joe Biden’s Administration have condemned Griner’s “wrongful detainment,” and U.S. officials have reportedly been working diligently to see Griner released and returned to the United States swiftly and safely.
"The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government," the State Department said earlier this month. "The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.”
"The U.S. government will continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner,” the State Department added.
After Biden’s Administration and the State Department designated Griner as being “wrongfully detained,” the WNBA star’s teammates and fans became hopeful that her issues would resolve quickly and she would released from custody and returned home.
"It has been 75 days that our friend, teammate, sister, Brittney Griner, has been wrongfully detained in Russia. It is time for her to come home,'', WNBA players' union president Nneka Ogwumike said in a statement at the time.
"Having learned that the U.S. government has now determined that BG is being wrongfully detained we are hopeful that their efforts will be significant, swift and successful.''