Russian state media TASS reported the Russian government was extending WNBA champion and Olympic Gold medalist Brittney Griner’s detainment by 18 days, but experts say the hearing “will never happen.”
Griner has spent the last months in confinement after being arrested on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for allegedly carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.
“Anyone still taking Russia’s word for anything in the Griner case is being foolish,” Aron Solomon, the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital, told Insider. “This ‘hearing’ will never happen.”
Griner faces up to 10 years in prison for the charges.
“She will either be clandestinely found guilty and sent to prison camp or she will be in a prisoner swap,” said Solomon
After initially not commenting on the case and working in private to try to secure Griner’s release, the Biden Administration officially designated Griner as “wrongfully detained” in May.
Griner’s teammates on the Phoenix Mercury met with US State Department officials and Congressman Greg Stanton of Arizona, and US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas to discuss Griner’s case.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, said she has not spoken with the President and she wants to bring “my person back.”
Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas has asked the Administration to “do whatever it takes” to get Griner released.
American veteran Trevor Reed, who was released in April in a prisoner swap after spending nearly three years held hostage in Russia, called on the White House and legislators to work faster to free Grine at a recent rally in Houston.
“There is no justice in Russia,” Reed said. “Brittney and Paul [American detainee Paul Whelan] will not receive justice in Russia. They’re not going to receive a fair trial, they will not receive a fair investigation. They will be there as hostages until the United States gets them out.”
Reed said Griner’s situation was dire because Russia “systematically discriminates” against Black and LGBTQ people.
“Write them, call them, annoy them, don’t leave them alone,” he said. “Tell them you want Brittney home, and you want the rest of the Americans who are being wrongfully detained home, and you want it done now.”