Brittney Griner once again had her detention extended until July 2nd. It was the third time her detention has been extended by Russian authorities.
Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport for allegedly carrying vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis. She could face up to 10 years in prison if she’s convicted.
Last month, there was some talk over Griner coming home, but only if she was traded for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout as part of a prisoner swap with Russia. Bout is in the middle of a 25-year sentence in federal prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to kill Americans relating to the support of a Colombian terrorist organization.
He was dubbed the “Merchant of Death” because of his notoriety for running a fleet of aging Soviet-era cargo planes to conflict-ridden hotspots in Africa.
According to the latest report, it does not seem as though Russia is in any rush to hand Griner over to the U.S.A. as part of a prisoner swap for Bout.
Russian officials will not consider Brittney Griner for a prisoner swap with the U.S. “until a court investigation into her case is completed,” a Russian diplomat said, via Fox News.
The U.S. State Department determined Russia “wrongfully detained” the Phoenix Mercury center when she was arrested in February.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is among the highest priorities of the U.S government,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.
“With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”
The Mercury selected Griner with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft. She has gone on to have a successful career with the franchise, averaging 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 254 games across nine seasons.