HomeSportsBrittney Griner's detention in Russia extended until at least July 2, according...

Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia extended until at least July 2, according to Russian state information

Griner, 31, has been officially classified as “wrongfully detained,” a US State Department official told CNN in May.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February when Russian authorities claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage and charged her with smuggling large amounts of a narcotic, an offense punishable by 10 years in prison. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and star of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury is playing in Russia during the league’s offseason.

“Our position for some time on this has been very clear: Brittney Griner should not be detained. She should not be detained for one more day,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday. .

The State Department learned of the news through Russian state media, Price said. The United States last had consular access to Griner last month, he told reporters.

Griner’s case is being handled by the Office of the President’s Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, a State Department official confirmed to CNN last month. The office leads the government’s diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Americans wrongfully detained abroad and played a major role in securing the release of US citizen Trevor Reed during a prisoner exchange in late April with the Russia.

Her teammates ‘want her to come home’

News of Griner’s extended detention comes a day after State Department officials — including those in the hostage bureau — briefed her teammates on Griner’s situation and efforts to get her home.

“We’re on day 116 since BG was wrongfully detained,” Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard said, adding, “She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back. at home.”

For star guard Diana Taurasi, the State Department’s announcement that Griner’s detention was abusive signaled to the team that officials are taking the situation seriously, she said Monday.

Trevor Reed files a petition against Russia with the UN, asking that his detention be declared illegal, he tells CNN

“It’s something we’ve all talked about intimately as a group, and now know the State Department at the highest level – from US President Joe Biden to the team working to bring back all wrongfully detained Americans – gives we are very confident that they are working on it,” Taurasi said.

“Anything we can do on our side to amplify and prioritize BG will be our #1 priority,” she said.

Separately, Reed – an American veteran who spent nearly three years in a Russian prison – filed a petition with the United Nations claiming that Russia violated international law with his detention and mistreatment, he said. told CNN on Tuesday.

Holding Russia accountable “will force Russia to end this practice for all Americans they hold there,” including Griner and Paul Whelan, Reed told CNN. Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine, was detained in a Moscow hotel in 2018 and arrested for espionage, which he denied.

CNN has reached out to the UN and Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN to comment on Reed’s petition.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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