It has been heartbreaking watching the ordeal of WNBA star Brittney Griner as she remains detained in Russia ever since being taken into custody back in February when Russian Customs allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage.
A court hearing earlier today revealed that Griner’s trial will begin this Friday (July 1), however the Phoenix Mercury center has been ordered to remain in custody for an additional six months until the verdict is determined.
The 31-year-old Texas native was captured by photographers and videographers of the press as she made her way into the courtroom with shackles on her wrists. The expression on her face is also extremely telling, exhibiting a wide-eyed sense of shock that’s understandable given her unfathomable circumstances. Many believe that she’s actually being held as a political prisoner as Russia faces universal scrutiny for launching a fatal war on Ukraine that began on February 24. Griner had been arrested just a week prior on February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. She was en route to play with the Russian Premier League during the WNBA offseason when authorities accused her of smuggling illegal vape cartridges containing hashish oil, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
More details below on the fight to get Brittney Griner back in the U.S., via CNN:
“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Cherelle Griner one-on-one last Wednesday, according to a senior State Department official. She said last week she hasn’t talked to her wife since February 17.
‘I’ve got no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are being illegally detained in one way or another around the world come home,’ Sec. Blinken told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ at the Group of 7 summit Sunday.
‘That includes Paul Whelan, that includes Brittney Griner, that includes people in a number of other countries,’ he added. Whelan is a US citizen who was detained in Moscow in 2018 and arrested on espionage charges. He has denied the charges.
‘I can’t comment in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority,’ Blinken said.
The US Embassy in Moscow will send a US diplomat to Brittney Griner’s hearing on Friday, a US official told CNN.”
The US State Department has continued to classify Griner as “wrongfully detained,” with a spokesperson stating, “The US government will continue to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner and her family. We will continue to press for her release.” This has been extremely difficult for her wife, Cherelle Griner, who told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week that she hasn’t spoken to her better half since February 17.
We will continue to pray for Brittney Griner, along for the mental welfare of her fans, family and her wife. Peep the touching video Cherelle posted last week for their anniversary below:
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