The American basketball star Brittney Griner’s pretrial detention got extended by a Russian court to July 2, reported by the Russian state-owned news agency, TASS, on June 14. The extension was granted at the request of Russian investigators as Grinder is under investigation for large-scale transportation of drugs.
Griner got detained while traveling back to America to join her WNBA team, Phoenix Mercury, for training. She was returning US after playing for the UMMC Yekaterinburg in Russia during the offseason. Griner got detained on February 17 at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow. The airport officials took her in custody as they allegedly found multiple cannabis oil vape cartridges during a routine inspection of her luggage. She could face five to ten years in prison if found guilty.
The US state department deemed her arrest as “wrongfully detained” back in May as Griner got denied home detention. Meanwhile, the US state department spokesman Ned Price told the media on Tuesday, June 14, that they came to know about the extension of Griner’s pretrial detention through media and called for her release.
“Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer.” Price said “We are in constant contact regarding her case. We are in constant contact with her team and her network… We continue to press for regular, continued access to all American detainees.”
The Phoenix Mercury met with the US State Department, Including the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who are looking after Griner’s case, on Monday. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and Greg Stanton were also present during the meeting.
“We are on day 116 since [Griner] has been wrongfully detained,” Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard told the media after the meeting. “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 [Griner] home. She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.”
The 31 years old star is a seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, playing for Mercury since 2013 and for the Russian team for six seasons.