Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia still being negotiated

Brittney Griner's detention in Russia still being negotiated
Photo source: Instagram – @brittneygriner

The detention of Brittney Griner in a Russian jail has been extended.

The move was expected, but should “have little effect on negotiations for release, according to several experts,” ESPN reported. Griner’s next scheduled hearing is set for July 2, but both American officials and sources close to Griner told the national outlet the expectation is for Russian courts to keep extending her detainment until a deal is reached for her release.

The negotiated deal being referenced is a prisoner swap. American citizen Trevor Reed, who was detained in Russia since 2019 for endangering the “life and health” of Russian officers, was released in April in a swap for a Russian prisoner in America. In his many interviews since being freed, Reed has advocated for the release of Griner.

Griner has been held in Russia since Feb. 17, 2022, for allegedly trying to bring vape cartridges with hashish oil into the country. The 6-foot-9 Olympian plays in Russia during the WNBA off-season for a million-dollar salary. In May, the American government declared her detainment as wrongful.

In 2021, the WNBA named Griner one of its greatest 25 players in league history. Her team, the Phoenix Mercury, have gotten off to a 5-8 start to the 2022 season without her, despite still having one of the most accomplished rosters on paper. After remaining tight-lipped about the situation, fellow Russian professional basketball player and Griner’s longtime American teammate, Diana Taurasi publicly commented on the issue to ESPN after the Mercury met with White House officials about the situation on June 13.

“It was just nice hearing from the people at the top that they’re working relentlessly and we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure and amplify and keep BG at the forefront of the things we want to do,” Taurasi said, “which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our life.”

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