WNBA star Brittney Griner was seen for the first time since her arrest for allegedly smuggling cannabis oil into Russia. The Phoenix Mercury center was seen in a video clip entering a Moscow courtroom on Thursday, March 17.
In the video, posted on Twitter by Russian outlet Mash, Griner, 31, is escorted by 2 female guards. She is handcuffed to one of the guards.
According to Mash, Griner pleaded not guilty, and her detainment was extended until May 19.
WNBA star Brittney Griner appeared in Moscow court today, where she reportedly pleaded not guilty to drug charges.
The court has extended her detention for another two months, per @tass_agency.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 17, 2022
According to Mash, Griner’s only complaint was that the bed in her jail cell was too short for her 6’9″ frame.
“The beds in the cell are clearly designed for a shorter person,” activist Ekaterina Kalugina, told Mash on Thursday.
Kalugina, a member of a human rights watchdog group with access to Russian prisons, made the statement after allegedly visiting the facility where Griner is being held.
Kalugina shared more details about Griner’s detention with Russian state news agency TASS. She said Griner has accepted her detainment and she is sharing her cell with two other women with no prior convictions. “They speak English and help Griner communicate with the prison administration,” Kalugina said.
She said the unnamed facility where Griner is detained accepts visits from diplomats, and she is surprised that the U.S. consul has not made arrangements to visit Griner.
Griner was arrested on February 17 after customs officials searched her luggage and found multiple vape cartridges containing hash or cannabis concentrate oil. Unlike CBD oil, cannabis oil contains THC, which causes a high that can last 2 to 10 hours.
The WNBA star’s family, team officials, and U.S. government officials kept her arrest a secret for 3 weeks until the Russian Customs Service reported her arrest earlier this month.
Griner earns $1.5 million a year playing for a Russian women’s basketball team during the WNBA’s off season. Her Russian salary is 6 times her salary from the WNBA, and Russian winter basketball is considered her full-time job for the past 7 seasons.
Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.