It has been over four months since WNBA star Brittney Griner was initially detained for allegedly carrying vape cartridges that Russian officials claimed had hashish oil, a marijuana concentrate that is illegal in Russia.
Her detention in a Russian prison was recently extended until July 2 despite hopes of a possible return to the United States this month for Griner, which is certainly a frustrating situation for all that are hoping for a return as soon as possible.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman Dmitry Peskov discussed Griner and her situation in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday, disputing the State Department’s position that Griner is a Russian hostage.
“She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted,” Peskov said. “It’s not about being a hostage. There are lots of American citizens here. They’re enjoying their freedoms … but you have to obey the laws.”
“Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?” he added.
The offense of carrying hashish oil in Russia is an extremely serious offense, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison within the country.
This clearly means that it is urgent that Griner get back to the United States, which has been called upon by Griner’s agent as well as her wife, who hopes that the U.S. government fixes the situation.
It seems clear that the Russian government is in no hurry to send her back to the United States, and possibly even wants to make an example of her as a foreigner that has broken the law, given her fame.
It is clearly a frustrating situation that unfortunately has no end in sight at the current moment.