WNBA star Brittney Griner, 31, has been detained for months in Russia. On Friday, her detention was extended during a pre-trial in a Moscow court.
The Phoenix Mercury all-star center was arrested in February after Moscow airport officials allegedly found cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage as she was returning back to the U.S.
Griner faces drug smuggling charges and up to ten years in prison.
Griner can be seen in an orange hoodie at the Moscow court in an Associated Press video.
WNBA star Brittney Griner’s lawyer says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. She was detained at a Moscow airport in February after vape cartridges with oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage. Full story: https://t.co/YxMiPjbyCv pic.twitter.com/2G7TIeh9y0
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 13, 2022
According to NBC News, Griner’s lawyer Alexander Boikov said his client’s detention was extended one month, which falls on June 18. The 30-day extension could mean Griner’s case could go to trial soon.
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, tweeted the White House “to use all options available to immediately and safely bring Brittney home.”
The U.S. Government has determined that #BrittneyGriner has been officially designated as “Wrongfully Detained” regardless of the Russian legal system proceedings status. She has now been held for 85 days. [1/2]
— Lindsay Kagawa Colas (she/her) (@kagawacolas) May 13, 2022
Other WNBA players also shared their reactions to the extension.
Fever guard Danielle Robinson said, “It was a gut punch” when she saw the pictures of Griner donning an orange hoodie in the pre-trial.
“You get to know her and her family, what she’s all about, what she stands for. Knowing her heart, she has such a heart for other people. It’s super sad.”
This extension comes just a few weeks after U.S. Government officials released a statement determining Griner to be “wrongfully detained” by the Russian government.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad [are] among the highest priorities of the U.S government. The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner. With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release,” the statement read.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, a recent NCCU law school graduate, has continuously shared updates on her wife’s return for friends, fans and family.
In March, she shared a photo of the two and thanked those who reached out to her for their support.
“Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me regarding my wife’s safe return from Russia. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated. I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life. I understand that many of you have grown to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details. Please honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely. Thank you!”
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Yelling #FreeBG until she safely returns home.