Britney Greiner detention extended in Russia

Russian media reported, Thursday, that Britney Grenier, the American basketball star detained in Moscow on drug charges, will remain in detention for at least another two months.

“The court approved the investigation request and extended the detention period for US citizen Grenier until May 19,” a spokesman for the Russian court told the Kremlin-controlled TASS news agency.

Mash also reported the news, sharing a video on Telegram showing Griner, 31, walking down a driveway with two guards.

Someone close to the matter told BuzzFeed News Griner that he is fine and has been meeting regularly with her Russian legal team while in detention. The person said the investigation is still ongoing, and no trial date has been set.

If the investigation is not completed by May, it will be reassessed whether she will continue to be held pending trial.

“We are closely involved in this case and are in frequent contact with Britney Greiner’s legal team,” a State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

The arrest of the WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist was first reported on March 5, but Representative Colin Allred of Texas, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she was arrested on February 17.

She was arrested after customs officials allegedly found packages of cannabis oil in her luggage at an airport outside Moscow. She could face up to 10 years in prison.

Griner is a member of the Phoenix Mercury but has been playing off-season for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg.

TASS quoted Ekaterina Kalugina of the Moscow Public Monitoring Committee, a group that monitors prison conditions, as saying that she had met with Greiner.

According to Kalugina, the US consul did not meet with Greiner, but the State Department spokesman said that the reason was that the Russians did not allow this.

“We insist that the Russian government provide consular access to all American citizens detained in Russia, including pre-trial detainees, as Britney Grenier has done,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have repeatedly requested that consulates be allowed access to these detainees, and we have been consistently denied access,” the spokesperson said. Russia must abide by its legal obligations and allow us to provide consular services to US citizens detained in Russia.

Calugina said Greiner was quiet and had been reading books while in custody, but had difficulty dealing with the size of the family because she was nearly 7 feet tall.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he is limited in what he can say publicly about Grenier’s case due to privacy considerations, but that US officials will provide “every possible assistance” to any American detained abroad.

Greiner’s wife, Cheryl, asks for privacy while the family works to get her home.

Officials and the Greiner family are believed to be strategically silent to avoid making her a high-ranking prisoner that the Russians will want to keep as a political pawn while the West imposes sanctions on the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been held in Iran for 18 months, told CNN he suspects Greiner, like himself, is being held on trumped-up charges.

“It is the most daring hostage-taking that a country can imagine,” Rezaian said.

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