Brittney Griner has become a uniting figure for many Americans who oppose Vladimir Putin’s ruthless regime in Russia. The Phoenix Mercury star plays in Russia in the offseason to stay in shape for the WNBA and bring home some extra money. A nightmare situation unfolded when Griner was arrested on suspicion that she was carrying a cannabis vaping device through a Russian airport.
Griner’s subsequent incarceration came at the worst possible time. Putin was just starting to launch his unprovoked war against Ukraine. Anti-Putin sentiment swept the world. Many believed Brittney Griner could be in danger as an American in a Russian prison.
Brittney got her chance to appear in court on Thursday. Griner pled not guilty to the drug charges. The first video of Griner since her arrest was shared as part of the proceedings.
TMZ Sports reports that the Russian state news agency TASS said the court granted more time for an investigation of the alleged crimes. That means that Brittney Griner’s period of detention also had to be extended. The deadline for that is May 19.
Griner has been in Russian custody since February. Vape cartridges containing hashish oil were found in her carry-on luggage as she attempted to enter Russia. There is a very real fear that a desperate Putin will eventually use Brittney as a bargaining chip. The chances of a fair trial are looking slim. Several American officials have been working around the clock to coordinate efforts to have Griner released, but thus far they have had no luck.
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