Brittney Griner’s lawyer has revealed that her current pre-trial detention has been extended by one month.
Back in February, the American basketball star was detained after authorities found hashish oil in her luggage.
“As a US citizen was passing through the green channel at Sheremetyevo Airport upon arriving from New York, a working dog from the Sheremetyevo Customs canine department detected the possible presence of narcotic substances in the accompanying luggage,” Russian customs officials said.
For the last few months, Griner has been held in a detention centre in Khimki City, 14 miles northwest of downtown Moscow.
According to human rights group Public Monitoring Commission, she is sharing a cell with two other prisoners.
In March, Russian state news agency TASS revealed that a Moscow court “granted the request of the investigation and extended the period of detention of the US citizen Griner until May 19.”
However, a few days before the aforementioned date, Griner’s lawyer Alexander Boykov revealed troubling news regarding her detainment.
On 13 May, Griner attended a hearing in which a Russian court extended her detention by one month.
Alongside the extension news, Boykov revealed that the court’s recent decision is an indication that Griner’s case will be headed to trial soon.
According to NBC News, a consular officer from the US Embassy in Moscow was also present and met with the Phoenix Mercury player.
During a press conference in Washington D.C., State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Griner is “doing as well as can be expected under what can only be described as exceedingly difficult circumstances.”
In addition to Price’s revelation, the WNBA also released a statement supporting Griner.
“Today’s news on Brittney Griner was not unexpected, and the WNBA continues to work with the US government to get BG home safely and as soon as possible,” they said.
The news of Griner’s extended custody comes a week after the US reclassified her as “wrongfully detained”.
“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the US government,” the State Department said via ESPN.
“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained US citizen Brittney Griner.
“… The US government will continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms Griner.”
Griner’s new pre-trial extension is set to end on 18 June.
If the two-time Olympic gold medalist is found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison.