Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia has been extended for a month, Russian media report

Griner, who the US government says is being wrongfully detained, will now be detained at least until June 18, a court in Khimki, near Moscow, said on Friday, TASS reported, citing the court’s press service. Coming out of a hearing Friday at the Khimki court, she was handcuffed, dressed in an orange hoodie with her head bowed, an Associated Press photo shows.
Griner, 31, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA Phoenix Mercury star, was arrested in February at a Moscow airport. Russian authorities said Griner had cannabis oil in her luggage and charged her with smuggling large amounts of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She had played for a Russian team during the WNBA offseason.
A Russian court announced in March that it had extended Griner’s detention until mid-May. A trial date had not been set, a source close to the situation told CNN.

The United States classified her as wrongfully detained

The US State Department has classified Griner as wrongfully detained in Russia, and her case is being handled by the Office of the US Presidential Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, a State Department official confirmed to CNN today. last week. The office directs and coordinates the government’s diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Americans wrongfully detained abroad.

In addition to the work of the Biden administration, the Richardson Center, which privately advocates for the families of hostages and detainees, is working on behalf of the Griner family to try to secure his release.

The WNBA views federal authorities’ decision to classify Griner as wrongfully detained as a “positive development and a next step in bringing her home,” a league spokesperson said last week.

Griner was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft and is one of the league’s greatest players of all time.

The league, which entered its 26th regular season last week without Griner, honors the seven-time star with his initials and jersey number (42) on the sidelines of the 12 home courts. Griner will also receive his full WNBA salary, the league said.

Last season, Griner finished second in voting for the Most Valuable Player award. The 6-foot-9 center led the Mercury to the WNBA Finals, where Phoenix lost to the Chicago Sky.

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