By JIM HEINTZ
Moscow (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner was in possession of cannabis oil when he returned to play for the Russian team in a tense relationship between Moscow and Washington. He was tried on Friday, four and a half months after he was arrested on suspicion.
The Phoenix Mercury Center and two US Olympic gold medalists were arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow in February after police said they were carrying an arc canister in cannabis oil. If convicted of a large-scale transport of narcotics, she could face up to 10 years in prison.
31-year-old Greener was handcuffed and taken to a court in Khimki on the outskirts of Moscow, wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. At a private preliminary hearing on Monday, her detention was extended for another six months until December 20.
The prosecution questioned two witnesses. An unidentified witness at a private session with an airport customs officer who spoke in a public court. According to the state news agency RIA-Novosti. After that, the trial was canceled and the next session was set on July 7, as the other two witnesses did not appear.
“It’s too early to want to talk about the details or allegations of the case or comment on our position,” Grinner’s lawyer Alexander Boykov told reporters outside the court.
Less than 1% of Russian criminal defendants have been acquitted, and unlike US courts, acquittals can be overturned.
Her case is at a very low point in the relationship between Moscow and Washington. Greener was arrested less than a week before Russia sent troops to Ukraine, which exacerbated the already high tensions between the two countries. The United States then imposed drastic sanctions on Moscow, and Russia accused the United States of sending weapons to Ukraine.
Elizabeth Ruud, the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States in Moscow, said she had appeared in court and told Greener that she was “doing what she expected in these difficult situations.”
“The Russian Federation has illegally detained Brittney Griner,” Ludo said. “The practice of tort is unacceptable wherever it happens and threatens the safety of everyone who travels, works and lives abroad.”
She said the US government, from the highest level, “is working hard to safely return Britney and all illegally detained US citizens.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied on Friday that politics was involved in Grinner’s detention and prosecution.
“The fact is that a well-known athlete was detained in possession of a banned drug containing narcotic substances,” Peskoff told reporters. “Given what I said, it can’t be a political motivation,” he added.
Greener supporters were quiet until May, when the State Department reclassified her as illegally detained and transferred oversight of her case to a special presidential envoy on hostage issues, effectively the chief negotiator of the U.S. government. It didn’t stand out in the hope of a solution.
Grinner’s wife, Sherell, urged President Joe Biden to secure her release and called her a “political pawn.”
“I’m glad I met her in some of those images, but it’s hard. Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nigard said on Monday that her teammate friend was illegally imprisoned in another country. It reminds me every time. “
The coach wanted Biden to “take steps to ensure she got home.”
Greener supporters encouraged a prisoner exchange, such as April, when Marine veteran Trevor Reed was taken home in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of a drug trafficking plot. did.
Russian news media have repeatedly raised speculation that she could be exchanged for a Russian weapons merchant, the Merchants of Death, called Victor Bowt. ..
Russia has instigated the release of Bout for many years.However, the major contradiction between Grinner’s case, which includes possession of an arc cartridge containing cannabis oil, and the global trade in bouts with deadly weapons makes such an exchange unpalatable to the United States. There is likely to be
Others have suggested that she may be traded with Paul Wheelan.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken avoided the question when asked at CNN on Sunday if a joint exchange for a match between Greener and Welan was being considered.
“As a general suggestion … I have no higher priority than ensuring that Americans who are somehow illegally detained around the world return home,” he said. But he said, “I can’t comment in detail about what we’re doing, except to say that this is an absolute priority.”
WNBA Star Brittney Griner Trial Held in Russian Court – Reading Eagle
Source link WNBA Star Brittney Griner Trial Held in Russian Court – Reading Eagle