Brittney Griner: Russian court extends US basketball star’s arrest until May 19, TASS reports

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“The court granted the request for investigation and extended the period of detention of US citizen Griner until May 19,” the court said, according to TASS.

According to Russian authorities, the double Olympic gold medalist was arrested on allegations of drug trafficking in large quantities of narcotics at a Moscow airport. US Representative Colin Allred, a congressman from Texas, said she was arrested on February 17.

TASS also cited Ekaterina Kalugina, who it said represented Moscow’s Public Monitoring Commission (ONK), which observes the treatment of prisoners.

According to TASS, Kalugina visited Griner in his remand center. Kalugina also reportedly said the US consul did not visit the 31-year-old, despite the Russian authorities’ willingness to “create all the conditions” for their visit.

Earlier this month, Allred told ESPN that Griner had not been granted consular access – a circumstance he called “really unusual.”

On Wednesday, former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton became the latest US politician to call for her release, sharing a post about Griner with the caption “Free Brittney” in a Twitter post.

Griner currently plays for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg. Griner has played with the team since 2015 during the WNBA offseason. In five games this season, she is averaging 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

In 2014, Iranian American journalist Jason Rezaian was detained in Tehran and spent 544 days in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

The Washington Post reporter was finally released in January 2016, and he sees many parallels between his case and Griner’s.

“This is the most daring hostage-taking by any state imaginable,” Rezaian told CNN.

“I know from my own case that the alleged charges against me were not based in reality, and they were used to perpetuate a narrative about why I was being held.”

Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, has publicly called for Brittney’s release.

USA Basketball, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Phoenix Mercury and the WNBA Players Union have all publicly shared their concerns for Griner.

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