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US Basketball Star Detained for Cannabis Possession at Russian Airport

US Olympic basketball star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia on charges of smuggling cannabis oil. The 31-year-old star centre for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow in February as the Russia launched its forces against Ukraine. She was there to play for the Russian league’s team UMMC Ekaterinburg.  According to the Russian news agency Tass, a Moscow court has extended her detention until 19 May 2022. She is alleged to have had cannabis oil in a vape machine and is in a Russian jail for the foreseeable future, fairly low down the list of priorities in the negotiations with President Vladimyir Putin.

Griner’s charges that could carry a sentence of up to 10 years if she is convicted. The New York Times reported on 18 March 2022 that “Griner is ‘OK’ and has seen her Russian legal team multiple times a week while she has been in custody, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified publicly because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“Griner’s legal team in Russia had hoped to have her transferred to house arrest at the hearing, but were not surprised that the appeal of her detention was denied, according to the person with knowledge of the situation” the New York Times reported.

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