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Brittney Griner in 'good condition,' State Department says

The State Department said a U.S. embassy official in Moscow was granted access to the detained WNBA star.

A U.S. official granted access to detained WNBA star Brittney Griner found her to be in "good condition," the State Department said Wednesday. 

The Phoenix Mercury star is detained in Russia on allegations of drug smuggling, and Russian state media reports that her detention has been extended to May 19.

The State Department said Wednesday that a U.S. embassy official in Moscow was granted access to Griner. 

"We were able to check on her condition, we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network, to see to it that she is treated fairly," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN.

"Our official found Brittney Griner to be in good condition and we will continue to do everything we can to see to that it she is treated fairly throughout this ordeal," he added.

The U.S. had stepped up its push for consular access to Griner, who plays professionally in Russia during the WNBA offseason. 

“We are closely engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s legal team," the State Department said in a statement Friday. "We insist the Russian government provide consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention, as Brittney Griner is."

EARLIER: US steps up push for consular access to detained Brittney Griner

Griner was detained after arriving at a Moscow airport, reportedly in mid-February. Russian authorities said her luggage held vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

A growing contingent of family, friends and officials are calling for Griner's return, and a Change.org petition calling for the U.S. to secure her release is nearing 75,000 signatures. Griner's legal team has been quietly seeking her release and has declined to speak out about the case since her arrest was made public.

"She's an amazing person, role model, champion and she doesn't deserve what's happening right now," Griner's friend and basketball legend Nancy Lieberman said.

Griner has won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S., a WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury and a national championship at Baylor. She is a seven-time All-Star. The WNBA season opens May 6.

She was one of a dozen WNBA players who played in Russia or Ukraine this past season. All except Griner have left since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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