WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia has been extended by another couple of weeks, according to new reports.
Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Tuesday that Griner’s pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended to July 2 at the request of investigators.
Griner was arrested in a Russian airport back in February for allegedly carrying illegal cannabis oils in a vape cartridge when she attempted to enter the country.
Since then, her detention has been extended three times. In March, the courts extended her detention by two months to May 19. When that deadline expired, investigators requested and received another extension to June 11
On Monday, the Phoenix Mercury met with the U.S. State Department, including the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA).
Here’s what Mercury star Diana Taurasi said after the meeting:
“There is a lot involved in getting her back home and safe, they’re working relentlessly. We’re here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our lives. We want BG to come home as soon as possible, it’s number one on our list.”
The new report also comes after hopes that the State Department’s efforts would lead to progress in bringing Griner home to the U.S.
“Knowing the State Department at the highest level, from U.S President Joe Biden to the team that is working on bringing back all Americans who are wrongfully detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they’re working on it.”
Last week, players from the NBA’s Boston Celtics showed support for Griner. Several players wore shirts before Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors with a QR code for an online petition on Griner’s behalf.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 4, 2022
The petition has gathered more than 258,000 signatures that are being sent to the White House and State Department in Griner’s support.
“It is imperative that the U.S. government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely,” the petition stated in part.
The State Department determined in May that the 31-year-old twice Olympic gold medallist was wrongfully detained and has assigned diplomats to work for her release.
However, if convicted, Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.