WNBA superstar Brittney Griner had her detention in Russian prison extended today as she remains in custody on drug charges.
Griner will now be held until at least June 18. She faces charges of drug smuggling with up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
This afternoon, the U.S. State Department released a statement following the controversial hearing on Griner’s custody. Per ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, the State Department would not comment specifically on what transpired, but reiterated that they maintain Griner is being “wrongfully detained.”
“We take our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens seriously, and we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens when they are subject to legal processes overseas,” the State Department said in a statement.
The State Department did confirm that Griner spoke to diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. They said she is “doing as well as can be expected in these circumstances.”
In most other years, the U.S. State Department might be able to negotiate with Russia for her release. However, Russia’s ongoing military campaign against Ukraine has put tensions between the U.S. and Russia at the highest they’ve been in a generation.
It’s widely believed that Russia may use Griner as a political pawn as they continue their invasion of Ukraine.
The WNBA has already announced plans to pay tribute to Griner during the upcoming season. But there isn’t much they can do beyond that without putting Griner’s safety at risk.
It’s a delicate matter and one that may not be resolved for months.