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WNBA star Brittney Griner back in court for Russian drug trial

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner returned to a Russian court on Tuesday for her protracted trial on drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury’s trial began July 1. , but only four sessions have taken place, some lasting only a few hours. In one of them she admitted to carrying vapor cans containing cannabis oil when she was arrested at Moscow airport in mid-February, but said she had no criminal intent. Her slow trial and five-month detention have drawn sharp criticism from teammates and supporters in the United States , which have officially declared her to be “unreasonably detained,” a characterization that Russian officials have vehemently rejected. Griner was arrested amid heightened US-Moscow tensions ahead of Russia’s troop deployment to Ukraine later this month. Some supporters argue that he is being held in Russia as a pawn, possibly for a prisoner exchange. American soccer standout Megan Rapinoe said last week that she is “being held as a political prisoner, obviously.” police officer, was released in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian convicted in the US of drug trafficking. The Russian Foreign Ministry last week criticized the US claim that Griner is being held unjustly and said Russian laws must be respected. The US citizen was arrested in connection with the fact that she smuggled drugs and does not deny it, then this should be analogous to our local laws of Russia, and not those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington. , the representative Maria. Zakharova said: “If drugs are legalized in the United States, in many states, and this has been happening for a long time, and now the whole country will become a drug addict, this does not mean that all other countries are going the same way,” she added. Russian media have speculated that Griner could be traded for prominent Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, may also be involved in a swap. US officials have not commented on the prospects for such a trade. Russian officials said no exchange could be discussed until the legal proceedings against Griner were completed. It’s unclear how long the trial will last, but a judge has ordered Griner held in custody until Dec. 20. Previous trial sessions have included witness testimony from the director and captain of the Russian team Griner played for in the offseason, along with written testimony, including a letter from a doctor saying he had authorized her to use cannabis to treat pain.

American basketball star Brittney Griner returned to a Russian courtroom on Tuesday for her long-running trial on drug charges that could see her sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury standout’s trial began on July 1 but only four sessions have taken place, some lasting just a few hours. In one of them he admitted to carrying vapor containers containing cannabis oil when he was arrested at a Moscow airport in mid-February, but said he had no criminal intent.

Her slow trial and five-month detention drew sharp criticism among her teammates and supporters in the United States, who officially declared her “unreasonably detained,” a characterization vehemently rejected by Russian officials.

Griner was arrested amid high US-Moscow tensions ahead of Russia sending troops to Ukraine later that month. Some supporters argue that he is being held in Russia as a pawn, possibly for a prisoner exchange. American soccer standout Megan Rapinoe last week said she was “obviously being held as a political prisoner.”

But even after the conflict broke out, Washington and Moscow brokered a prisoner trade in April, when American Trevor Reed, jailed for assaulting a police officer, was released in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian convicted in the US for drug trafficking. .

The Russian Foreign Ministry last week criticized the US claim that Griner is being held unjustly and said Russian laws must be respected.

“If a US citizen was arrested in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be analogous to our Russian local laws, and not those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington. “, said the representative Maria Zakharova.

“If drugs are legalized in the United States, in many states, and it has been for a long time, and now the whole country is going to become a drug addict, that does not mean that all other countries are going the same way.” she added.

Russian media have speculated that Griner could be traded for prominent Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American jailed in Russia for espionage, may also be involved in a swap.

US officials have not commented on the prospects for such a trade. Russian officials said no exchange could be discussed until the legal proceedings against Griner were completed. It’s unclear how long the trial will last, but a judge has ordered Griner held until Dec. 20.

Earlier trial sessions included character witness testimony from the director and captain of the Russian team Griner played for in the off-season, along with written testimony, including a letter from a doctor who said he had authorized her to use cannabis for pain treatment.

WNBA star Brittney Griner back in court for Russian drug trial Source link WNBA star Brittney Griner back in court for Russian drug trial

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