The U.S. government has been granted access to WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner since she was detained in Russia back in February.
According to reports, U.S. consular officials received the chance to visit her for the first time on Mar. 23 and said she was doing “well.”
“Within the past couple hours, an official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner. We were able to check on her condition [and] we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Edward “Ned” Price said in a statement. “Our official found Brittney to be in good condition and will continue to do everything we can to see to it that she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal.”
.@StateDeptSpox: "Within the past couple hours, an official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner. We were able to check on her condition. […] Our official found Brittney Griner to be in good condition." https://t.co/uFauvl5gxZ pic.twitter.com/tSfcIAoOY4
— The Hill (@thehill) March 23, 2022
However, Price didn’t provide any other details about her status.
Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17, after customs officials claimed she tried to smuggle vape cartridges containing hashish oil into their country. They said they searched her belongings and found the cartridges at the Sheremetyevo International Airport airport in Moscow.
In video footage from the Russian Federal Customs Service, released on Mar. 5, the 31-year-old athlete was seen being pulled aside by the customs officials as they went through her personal items.
Since cannabis has been illegal in the eastern-European nation for quite some time, those in possession could face up to 10 years in prison.
“We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA,” her agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said in a statement released that day.
On Mar. 17, ESPN reported that a Russian court had extended Griner’s detention in their country until May 19.
“The court granted the request of the investigation and extended the period of detention of the U.S. citizen Griner until May 19,” the court’s officials reportedly said. Under Russian laws, prosecutors have up to a year– sometimes 18 months–before bringing her to trial.
Meanwhile, the 2022 WNBA season has been scheduled to begin on May 6.