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Russian court extends Brittney Griner’s detention until at least July 2

Mar 5, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; The Baylor Student section hold ups a  Free Brittney  sign for Brittney Griner as she is currently being detain in Russia, during the first half of a game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

A Russian court has extended the detention of WNBA star Brittney Griner in the country through at least July 2, Russian state news agency TASS reported Tuesday.

This was the latest extension handed down by the Russians, who arrested Griner, 31, in February at an airport near Moscow. She is accused of illegally transporting cartridges of hashish oil, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

U.S. officials have classified her arrest as “wrongful detainment.” As such, it is being overseen by the office of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens.

On Monday, officials from the State Department and Carstens’ office met with members of the Phoenix Mercury as the team was in Washington, D.C., to play the Mystics on Tuesday night. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., also were present.

“We are on day 116 since BG has been wrongfully detained,” Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”

Griner was arrested while on her way back to the United States for the start of training camp with the Mercury. She plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia during the offseason.

She has played for that team for six seasons and many other WNBA players participate in the league for financial reasons. Griner has won two Olympic gold medals, an NCAA title and a WNBA championship.

–Field Level Media