A Russian court on Tuesday extended the detention of Women’s National Basketball Association star Brittney Griner for a second time.
Griner, who was arrested in February, will remain in Russian detention until at least July 2, Russia’s state media company TASS reported.
Griner, 31, was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow in February after authorities found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bag.
The Phoenix Mercury Center and two-time Olympic champion could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison in Russia over the drug offenses. She has been in a Russian prison for over three months.
Her detention was extended by a month in May. Her lawyer, Alexander Boykov, said at the time that the relatively short extension could mean her case would soon go to court.
Now, however, their detention has been extended for another 18 days on “a request for an investigation,” a representative of the Khimki court of the Moscow region told TASS.
Last month, the Biden administration said the basketball star was “wrongly arrested by the Russian government.” The aggressive comments demonstrate the US government’s commitment to securing their release while the lawsuit against them unfolds.
The US State Department’s move in Griner’s case came after the release of Navy veteran Trevor Reed, who returned to the US from Russia on a prisoner swap.
Until then, US officials had refrained from saying the basketball player was being unfairly detained abroad.
Earlier Tuesday, the US State Department said Griner’s teammates met with officials at the Phoenix Mercury to discuss her detention in Russia and efforts to ensure her safe release.
Griner’s teammates, as well as players across the WNBA, have taken to social media to encourage President Joe Biden to help bring her home. WNBA players were also able to keep in touch with her through an account her agent set up.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/14/russia-extends-detention-for-wnba-star-brittney-griner-16828462/ Russia extends WNBA star Brittney Griner's detention