Russian court extends Brittney Griner’s detention for third time

WNBA star faces up to 10 year prison sentence if convicted of alleged drug smuggling

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention extended

WNBA star Brittney Griner has had her detention in a Russian prison extended for a third time by a court in the country.

The American basketball player will now remain in Russian custody until at least 2 July, according to reports from Moscow.

Ms Griner, 31, has been behind bars on drug-smuggling allegations since 17 February, and the US Department of State has called for her immediate release.

But the Khimki district court of the Moscow region extended Ms Griner’s detention for a third time, according to a report by state-run news agency Tass on Tuesday.

It also quoted a Russian official as saying the the Kremlin will not consider Griner in a prison swap “until a court investigation into her case is completed”.

The two-time Olympic gold medal winner was detained at a Moscow airport and is accused of carrying cape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

Authorities say she is accused of “smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance” and faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years if convicted.

“Our position for some time on this has been very clear: Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday.

”This case is problematic from top to bottom. It is precisely why we have characterised Brittney Griner as an unlawful detainee. It’s precisely why we are doing everything we can to seek and to affect her prompt release from Russian detention.”

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