WNBA star Brittney Griner appeared in a Russian court on Monday (June 27) for a preliminary hearing — four months after she was arrested at a Moscow airport.
Griner’s court appearance in the Moscow suburb of Khimki was set to address procedural issues ahead of her trial, which is scheduled to begin July 1. She was also ordered to remain in custody for the duration of her criminal trial, according to AP.
She was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport in February after authorities accused her of bringing vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through security. Griner could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted of these charges. Her arrest came a week before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, but news of her detention was not reported until March.
Griner is a member of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, but in the offseason, she plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian women’s basketball team which is most likely the reason she was in the country at the time.
Photos obtained by AP shows her being led into the courtroom in handcuffs. The 6-foot-9 basketball player was wearing glasses and a gray t-shirt as she received word about the trial date.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 27, 2022
U.S. officials have said that Griner was “wrongfully detained,” as the WNBA and the rest of the country ramped up pressure to get her released.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, has urged President Biden to do whatever it takes to bring the basketball player home. In a “Good Morning America” interview last month (May), Cherelle said “I don’t know,” when asked if she believes the president has prioritized the case. “I was grateful for the call. He says she’s a top priority, but I want to see it. I feel like to see it would be me seeing her on U.S. soil.”