© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Russian court extends Brittney Griner's detention


A Russian court has again extended the detention of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner. She'll be held for the duration of an upcoming trial on drug charges. NPR's Charles Maynes was at the courthouse today, and he has our story.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Brittney, how do you feel?

CHARLES MAYNES, BYLINE: A handcuffed Brittney Griner appeared briefly before the press as she was led by guards and even a guard dog to the closed preliminary hearing that extended her detention. In fact, afterward, Griner's lawyer, Alexander Boikov, said that's all today's legal proceedings touched on.

ALEXANDER BOIKOV: It was a technical hearing, the first hearing, the preliminary hearing. It was the prolongation of the arrest, not more than that.

MAYNES: Griner's actual trial on drug charges gets underway this Friday, July 1. That's more than four months after she was detained at a Moscow airport upon arriving to play offseason in a Russian basketball league. Russian officials allege the two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star was carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, a potential drug smuggling violation for which she faces up to 10 years in prison.

Yet Griner's case has also unfolded against the backdrop of cratering U.S.-Russian relations over the Kremlin's military campaign in neighboring Ukraine. The U.S. government declared Griner wrongfully detained in May and is assigned her case to its envoy for hostage affairs amid growing public pressure to gain her release. In a recent appearance on CNN's "State Of The Union" with journalist Jake Tapper, Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested the White House did not rule out a potential prisoner swap for Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, much like a trade that freed former Marine Trevor Reed from a Russian jail earlier this year.


ANTONY BLINKEN: As a general proposition, Jake, 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. And that includes Paul Whelan. That includes Brittney Griner. That includes people in a number of other countries.

MAYNES: American officials, however, were not present at the courthouse today. An embassy spokeswoman later explained the absence, telling NPR, U.S. officials had been told they would not be allowed to attend the day's closed proceedings but would be there for the duration of Griner's trial.

Charles Maynes, NPR News, Moscow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.