Griner's Pre-Trial Detention in Russia Extended to July 2

Griner's Pre-Trial Detention in Russia Extended to July 2
Brittney Griner of the United States in action with Himawari Akaho of Japan during the second half of the Women's Basketball final game on day sixteen of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Aug. 8, 2021. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

American basketball player Brittney Griner's pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended to July 2 at the request of investigators, Russia's TASS news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) seven-time All-Star was detained at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 when a search of her luggage allegedly revealed multiple cannabis oil vape cartridges. She could face up to 10 years in prison.

The U.S. State Department became aware of Russia's extension of her pre-trial detention through media reports, department spokesperson Ned Price said at a media briefing on Tuesday, while repeating calls for her release.

"Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for a single day longer," said Price.

"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."

Griner's team, the Phoenix Mercury, and the WNBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A representative said that Griner's family declined to comment at this time.

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.

On Monday, the Phoenix Mercury met with the U.S. State Department, including the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA).

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