CNN

A Russian court has extended for another month the detention of American basketball star Britney Greener, who has been on hold since February on drug smuggling charges, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported on Friday.

Greener, who was illegally detained by the US government, will now be in custody at least until June 18, the Khimki court near Moscow ruled on Friday, TASS reports citing the court’s press service.

Supporters, including the Griner family and the WNBA, have strongly advocated her release, and some have expressed concern that Russia will use Griner as a political pawn amid tensions between the country and the United States over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Phoenix Mercury was arrested in February at Moscow airport. Russian authorities said she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of the drug, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She played for the Russian team in the WNBA offseason.

A Russian court in March announced that it had extended Greener’s detention until mid-May. A trial date has not been set, a source close to the situation told CNN at the time.

The U.S. State Department has classified Greener as illegally detained in Russia, and her case is being handled by the office of the U.S. president’s special envoy for hostages, a State Department spokesman confirmed to CNN last week. The Office directs and coordinates the government’s diplomatic efforts to free Americans illegally detained abroad.

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