Brittney Griner: US basketball star seems in Russian court docket on drug costs

US basketball star Brittney Griner has appeared in court docket close to Moscow on suspicion of possessing hashish.

Griner was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport whereas travelling to play for a Russian staff throughout the US low season.

The 31-year-old was lastly introduced earlier than judges on Friday — greater than 4 months later — to formally face drug possession costs in a behind-closed-doors trial.

Griner, a two-time US Olympic gold medalist, might resist 10 years in jail if convicted.

The athlete’s detention and trial come amid heightened relations between Moscow and Washington following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Griner was arrested lower than every week earlier than Russia despatched troops into Ukrainian territory.

Police mentioned she was carrying vape canisters with hashish oil by means of the airport and accused the basketball participant of large-scale transportation of medicine.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that politics performed a task in Griner’s prosecution.

“The details are {that a} well-known athlete was detained in possession of prohibited remedy containing narcotic substances,” Peskov informed reporters. “In view of what I’ve mentioned, it might probably’t be politically motivated.”

In Might, the US State Division categorised Griner as wrongfully detained and handed the case over to its particular envoy for hostage affairs. Griner’s supporters have even inspired a prisoner swap.

Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, has urged President Joe Biden to safe her launch, calling her “a political pawn”.

“It was good to see her in a few of these pictures, but it surely’s robust,” added Vanessa Nygaard, Griner’s coach with the Phoenix Mercury.

“Each time’s a reminder that their teammate, their buddy, is wrongfully imprisoned overseas.”

“The US embassy and the nation care deeply about this case,” embassy consultant Elisabeth Rood mentioned outdoors the Russian court docket.

“[Griner] informed me to convey that her spirits are excessive and that she is preserving the religion,” Rood added.

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