No one wants to be arrested in Russia, but being arrested in Russia during this Ukraine conflict makes matters far worse.
The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner said Friday her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month.
Griner’s lawyer Alexander Boikov told The Associated Press he believed the relatively short extension of the detention indicated the case would come to trial soon.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at the Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The Biden administration says Griner, 31, is being wrongfully detained. The WNBA and U.S. officials have worked toward her release, without visible progress. Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson is assisting Griner’s family to help secure her return, CBS News has learned.
The U.S. government said it would “continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner,” who was arrested in mid-February at a Russian airport, where officials claimed that Griner’s luggage held vape cartridges with oil derived from cannabis, a charge which can result in up to 10 years in prison in Russia.
Grier’s initials and jersey number have been emblazoned on the hardwood by all 12 WNBA teams.
“I wish she was here physically,” Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley told CBS News.
Quigley and Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot both played with Griner during the WNBA offseason in Russia before her arrest.
“We were obviously there when it happened and it could have been any of us,” Vandersloot said.
Last week, Griner’s wife, Cherelle, posted a video of her hugging Griner with the caption “It’s GAME DAY!” while a wave of social media tributes have poured in with the hashtag, “We are BG.”
Terri Jackson, the executive director of the WNBA Players Association, told CBS News she hopes Griner will be home before the season ends and said many of the players have been writing letters to her.