Brittney Griner to attend preliminary court hearing behind closed doors, lawyer says

Originally Published: 27 JUN 22 06:22 ET
Updated: 27 JUN 22 09:42 ET

    (CNN) -- WNBA star Brittney Griner will attend a preliminary court hearing in the Moscow region Monday, her lawyer Alexander Boykov told CNN.

Griner has been held in Russia since February 17 on accusations of alleged attempted drug smuggling and has been officially classified as "wrongfully detained," a US State Department official told CNN in May.

According to Boykov, the court hearing was set to be held behind closed doors at the Khimki court just outside Moscow at 7 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. local time on Monday.

Griner arrived at the court Monday, handcuffed and flanked by guards in black tactical vests, according to a photo by AFP photographer Kirill Kudryavstev. She wore a gray T-shirt and glasses, the photo shows.

Griner's detention, which has been repeatedly extended, has sparked a wave of support among dozens of organizations in the US that have joined Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner's wife, in calling on President Joe Biden to strike an exchange deal with Russian authorities to release Griner and bring her home safely as soon as possible.

READ: Dozens of organizations sign letter calling on President Biden to strike deal for Brittney Griner's release

More than 40 organizations -- including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the National Urban League and the Women's National Basketball Players Association -- signed a letter addressed to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Last week, CNN reported that -- according to a senior State Department official -- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Cherelle Griner one-on-one on Wednesday. Cherelle said last week she hasn't talked to her wife since February 17.

Griner, 31, will remain in Russian custody through at least July 2, after a Russian court extended her detention, Russian state news agency TASS reported on June 15.

Griner was named an honorary WNBA All-Star game starter last week, with the All-Star game scheduled to take place on July 10 in Chicago.

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