Imprisoned Brittney Griner draws national attention

A Russian court last week extended the pretrial detention of the W.N.B.A. basketball star and former AISD Nimitz HS athlete Brittney Griner on drug smuggling charges until July 2, pushing her jail stint past the four month mark, according to the official state news agency TASS.

Although her contact with the public has been limited, reportedly her Russian attorney is able to pass notes back and forth, and Griner has been using this method to communicate with family and supporters in the U.S.

A rally in support of her was held last month in Houston, in front of the Toyota Arena where the NBA plays their games. The rally included the presence of American Trevor Reed, recently released from Russian custody in a trade.

It has been suggested in Russian media that Griner is being held by the Russians as a potential swap for a convicted criminal, Viktor Bout, held in the U.S. The State Department has listed the release of Griner as a priority, classifying her as “wrongfully detained,” but not commenting on a possible swap.

To keep attention on her plight, the WNBA this week named Griner as an honorary starter in the upcoming All Star Game to be played in Chicago on July 10th.