WNBA star Brittney Griner ordered to stay in Russian prison for another 2 months

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner
REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WNBA star center Brittney Griner has been ordered to remain in a Russian prison for another two months after her challenge of the legality of her arrest failed, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Flying into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport a week before the war with Ukraine last month, on Feb. 17, Griner was detained by Russian authorities after an x-ray of her luggage revealed that she was carrying electronic vape cartridges with hashish oil, leading to her arrest on drug smuggling charges.

Her appeal was struck down by a Moscow court — as was her lawyer’s argument that the date of her detention should have started as soon as she was apprehended at the airport because she was denied a lawyer and consular representation — claiming that it happened within 48 hours of her detention, meaning she must remain in prison until May 19.

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During the WNBA offseason, Griner plays professionally near Siberia for UMMC Ekaterinburg — a team she has been with since 2014 — which is why she was flying into Russia. Such a system is commonly practiced by professional women’s basketball players to keep a steady income when the American playing season is over.

The 31-year-old is one of the most successful women’s basketball players of this generation, making seven All-Star Games and winning a WNBA title during her nine years with the Phoenix Mercury. She also won an NCAA national championship at Baylor where she was one of the most dominant talents the game had ever seen.