Brittney Griner's Russia Detention Extended By One Month After Brief Public Appearance in Court

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was detained in Moscow in February after vape cartridges containing hash oil were allegedly found in her luggage

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty

Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner had her pre-trial detention in Russia extended by one month this Friday, her lawyer told The Associated Press.

The WNBA star's lawyer, Alexander Boykov, told AP he thinks the relatively short extension could indicate that Griner's case would go to trial soon. The 31-year-old has been in detention for nearly three months since her arrest in February.

For Friday's brief hearing, Griner appeared at a court outside Moscow handcuffed, wearing an orange hoodie. She kept her face down and away from the cameras at all times and did not express "any complaints about the detention conditions," Boykov told the outlet.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow in February after vape cartridges containing hash oil were allegedly found in her luggage.

At the time, the Russia Federal Customs Service said in a statement that the WNBA star had flown to Moscow from New York when a customs service dog at the airport indicated that drugs were possibly located inside her carry-on bag.

Customs officers searched the bag and allegedly found vape cartridges that contained liquid with hash oil. Griner was later taken into custody.

Griner has been charged with smuggling "narcotic drugs" into the country, according to the Customs Service statement. The basketball champion faces five to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Brittney Griner
Gregory Shamus/Getty

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said it has now classified Brittney Griner's February arrest in Russia as wrongful detainment, which indicates a shift in how government officials will attempt to bring her home.

"The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday.

"The U.S. Government will continue to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner and her family."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Last month, WNBA Players Association President Nneka Ogwumike shared an update on her "sister" Griner as she appeared on Good Morning America.

"It's tough," Ogwumike said of Griner's situation. "BG [Griner] is us, we are BG."

"That could have been us," she said of Griner. "We're really most concerned about her health and safety, especially her mental health. We're hearing in that respect, she's okay, but we want her home."

Ogwumike, 31, also revealed why she was speaking out about the arrest. "Given the nature of Brittney's situation, when it happened, it was very important for us to be intentional about doing the best thing to ensure that we don't compromise her coming home," she said, adding that her fellows players were "educating ourselves about the details of what was going on as much as we could know, but then understanding how important it was for us to be strategic about when and how we speak about her."

Related Articles