PHOENIX MERCURY

Russian court extends Brittney Griner’s detainment for 3rd time

Jun 14, 2022, 10:05 AM | Updated: 12:58 pm
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in...

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

A Russian court for the third time has extended the pre-trial detention of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner through at least July 2, the country’s state media outlet TASS reports, according to ABC News.

The extension was requested by those involved in the investigation process, TASS reported on the 117th day of Griner’s detainment.

The second extension occurred on May 13, when a court ruled that Griner would be held until June 18, this Saturday.

It was first extended to May 19 in mid-March.

Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 at an airport in Russia after authorities there said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative. On May 3, the State Department of the United States reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained and transferred oversight of her case to the State Department Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, or SPEHA.

The Mercury met with the State Department of the United States on Monday and through statements and a video of star Diana Taurasi expressed positivity after the government asked them to continue amplifying a push to bring Griner home.

State Department officials met Monday with representatives of Griner’s WNBA team about the Mercury star’s monthslong detention in Russia and the Biden administration’s efforts to secure her release.

The meeting involved officials from its specialized office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans, but the State Department offered no additional details about what was said or who specifically attended.

From the Mercury’s point of view, the meeting was a positive sign that everything is being done to bring the center back to the United States.

“Once we knew that BG was over there being detained wrongfully, that was a signal to all of us (the U.S. government was prioritizing the case),” Taurasi said in a video interview provided by the Mercury. “Anything that we can do on our side to amplify and to put BG first will be our number one priority.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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