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EXPLAINER: WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia
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WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Moscow extended by one month
US basketball star Brittney Griner has her pre-trial detention in Russia lengthened, with her lawyer saying the relatively short extension…
Russian court extends WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention
US basketball star’s lawyer says he believes one-month extension indicates the case would come to trial soon.
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Russia defends arrest of WNBA star Brittney Griner: ‘She was caught red-handed’

By Gino Spocchia
AP

Russia has defend the arrest of US women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, pushing back on claims by the Biden administration that her detention in the country is “illegal”.

In a statement on Thursday, Russian authorities said 31-year-old Ms Griner was detained by Moscow police in February based on “objective facts and evidence”.

“She was caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hash oil,” the statement, issued by Rusia’s foreign ministry to CNN, said. “In Russia, this is a crime.”

The remarks were an apparent pushback against a US State Department statement earlier this month which described the basketball player’s arrest as “illegal” and wrongful.

Ms Griner was allegedly detained while attempting to leave Russia with a bag of vape cartridges containing a derisive of cannabis oil.

While the cartridges are legal in most parts of the world, they are banned in Russia under “part 2 of Article 229.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (drug smuggling)”, the statement added.

She faces up to 10 years in prison in Russia, and appeared in court on Friday for a hearing on whether or not her detention will be extended. The outcome of that hearing remains unclear.

Russian authorities went on to describe the charges against Ms Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury and a Russian basketball team in the off-season, as “serious, based on objective facts and evidence that is available”.

“The final point in this case should be made by the court,” the statement added.

US officials had not described Ms Griner’s arrest as wrongful until this month. That followed the negotiated release of former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was also detained in Russia.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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Dive Deeper:
EXPLAINER: WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia
As WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner approaches the three-month mark of her detention in Russia, she…
WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia extended by month
Lawyer for the Phoenix Mercury center expects cannabis case will be tried soon as the extension is relatively short
WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia is extended by a month
The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner said Friday her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month.
US basketball star Brittney Griner's detention in Russia extended by one month
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Brittney Griner will spend at least one more month being detained in Russia following her arrest…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention in Moscow extended by one month
US basketball star Brittney Griner has her pre-trial detention in Russia lengthened, with her lawyer saying the relatively short extension…
Russian court extends WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention
US basketball star’s lawyer says he believes one-month extension indicates the case would come to trial soon.
Get all your news in one place