Brittney Griner should be in America.
The WNBA star appeared in a Russian court today (June 27) for a hearing. Her trial will start Friday (July 1). CNN reports she’ll be locked up for six more months, pending the outcome.
Photos of Brittney went viral online as she wore shackles on her wrists, cuffed to an officer, and surrounded by multiple security guards. She wore a grey t-shirt and sweat pants. Take a look:
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, claims Brittney isn’t a “hostage.” Peskov said Brittney was “no different” than other Russian citizens that were sentenced for carrying hashish.” He said, “Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?”He also said, “She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted. It’s not about being a hostage. There are lots of American citizens here. They’re enjoying their freedoms … but you have to obey the laws.”
On February 17, WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney was detained at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities claimed they found vape cartridges while searching her luggage. The cartridges allegedly contained oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Brittney went to Russia to play in the country’s professional league during the WNBA’s offseason. Russia extended her detention three times, on March 17, May 13, and the latest, June 6.
Brittney’s partner, Cherelle, spoke out on Good Morning America. and believes Brittney is being used as a political pawn as the war against Russia and Ukraine continues.
Last month, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony publicly spoke out, advocating for her release. Brittney’s hometown in Houston, Texas, ABC reports gathered outside the Toyota Center, demanding her release on June 6. Mayor Sylvester Turner deemed 6/6 “Brittney Griner Day.”
— ABC News (@ABC) June 27, 2022
When Brittney is released, ESPN reports she’ll have a place at the WNBA All-Star game.