Griner, which has the United States government said he was unjustly detained
, will now be held until at least June 18, a Khimki court outside Moscow ruled on Friday, TASS reported, citing the court’s press service. Leaving a hearing in Khimki’s court on Friday, she was handcuffed, wearing an orange hooded pullover with her head down, an Associated Press photo shows.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and star for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, Griner, 31, was arrested in February
at a Moscow airport. Russian authorities said Griner had cannabis oil in his luggage
and accused her of smuggling significant quantities of a narcotic substance, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She had played for a Russian team in the WNBA off-season.
A Russian court announced in March
he had extended Griner’s detention until mid-May. No trial date had been set, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.
The United States classified her as being unjustly detained
The US State Department has classified Griner as being wrongfully detained
in Russia, and his case is being handled by the US Presidential Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, a State Department official confirmed to CNN last week. The office leads and coordinates the government’s diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Americans unjustly detained abroad.
In addition to the work of the Biden administration, the Richardson Center, which privately defends on behalf of hostage and inmate families, is working on behalf of the Griner family to seek his release.
The WNBA views the move by federal authorities to classify Griner as being unjustly detained as a “positive development and a next step in bringing her home,” a league spokesman said last week.
Griner was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft and is one of the league’s all-time best players.
The championship, which started its 26th regular season last week
without Griner, he is honoring the seven-time all-star with his initials and jersey number (42) on the sidelines of all 12 home courts. Griner will also receive his entire WNBA salary, the league said.
Last season, Griner finished second in the Most Valuable Player Award voting. The 6-foot-9 center took Mercury to the WNBA Finals, where Phoenix lost to the Chicago Sky.