A Russian court has scheduled the start date for Brittney Griner’s upcoming criminal trial.
Since February, the Phoenix Mercury player has been detained in Russia after authorities accused her of carrying hashish oil in her luggage.
Over the last few months, Griner’s lawyers and representatives have worked tirelessly on getting the beloved basketball player back to the United States. However, numerous roadblocks have unfortunately prolonged the process.
Since being arrested, her detention has been extended three times, she’s had hardly any communication with loved ones and details surrounding her future court appearances have been non-existent.
However on 27 June, a Russian court finally scheduled the start of Griner’s long-awaited trial for 1 July.
The date was decided on after the 31-year-old attended her preliminary hearing at the Khimki city courthouse.
If the two-time Olympic gold medalist is found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison.
Alongside her trial date being selected, the court extended Griner’s detainment by an additional six months as reported by the Associated Press.
The publication also revealed that less than 1% of people facing criminal charges are acquitted of their crimes – which makes the odds of her release extremely low.
Shortly after the court’s announcement, fans of Griner took to social media to express their disbelief over her continued detainment.
— Aya Abdeen (she/her) (@ayabdeen) June 27, 2022
On Twitter user wrote: “I’m so scared for her. And the comments are full of men, mostly white, that are gleeful and saying she deserves it just because she’s a Black woman against the national anthem.”
Another fan tweeted: “I think we should make more noise about Brittney Griner being a prisoner of war.”
The news of Griner’s trial and additional six-month detention comes a month after the US State Department reclassified Griner 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.
While supporters are hoping for a fair and successful trial for the young athlete’s release, others have encouraged US officials to conduct a prisoner swap between Griner and convicted Russian arms trader Viktor Bout.
When asked by CNN if a potential swap would occur, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated: “As a general proposition… I have got no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are being illegally detained in one way or another around the world come home.”
He added: “But I can’t comment in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority.”