Brittney Griner’s attorneys argued on Friday that the American basketball star had a medical prescription for the drug that she mistakenly carried into Russia, the place she has been detained for practically 5 months amid Moscow’s escalating tensions with Washington over the struggle in Ukraine.
As Ms. Griner’s trial on drug costs resumed at a courtroom exterior Moscow, her protection staff offered medical paperwork displaying that she had a prescription for medical hashish for continual ache, in keeping with Reuters.
The Russian authorities accused Ms. Griner in February of getting two vape cartridges with cannabis oil — a hashish spinoff — in her baggage at an airport close to Moscow. The 31-year-old Phoenix Mercury star and two-time Olympic gold medalist had traveled there to play with UMMC Yekaterinburg, a Russian staff, throughout the W.N.B.A. low season.
She was charged with willfully smuggling the vape cartridges, violating Russian legal guidelines prohibiting the import of narcotics.
Ms. Griner pleaded responsible final week, telling the decide she had “no intent” to interrupt the legislation. Within the Russian justice system, the trial course of continues even after defendants plead responsible.
Her attorneys have argued that she had packed in a rush. On the listening to on Friday, they offered proof together with “a physician’s appointment for the substance that, as a result of an oversight of B.G., remained amongst her belongings when crossing the border,” in keeping with a press release from Maria Blagovolina, a associate within the legislation agency Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Companions.
Ms. Griner has discovered herself caught within the rising acrimony between the Kremlin and the Biden administration, which has pledged to do every thing it could to safe her freedom. Dealing with a potential 10-year sentence if convicted, in a justice system that closely favors the prosecution, Ms. Griner has expressed concern that she might by no means be freed, and wrote in a latest letter to President Biden: “Please don’t neglect about me.”
Her case has galvanized assist within the American sports activities world and past. As she sat behind bars within the courtroom on Friday, Ms. Griner, clad in a Nirvana T-shirt, held up a photograph of W.N.B.A. gamers carrying her quantity throughout final week’s All-Star Sport in Chicago.
Her attorneys additionally submitted proof together with commendations from Russian and U.S. organizations. A day earlier, the director of UMMC Yekaterinburg, the staff physician and a fellow participant testified in her protection, praising her athletic potential and character.
Regardless of rising stress for the USA to make a deal to free Ms. Griner, presumably by a prisoner trade, Russian officers have performed down the potential for an imminent decision, and insisted that no negotiations might happen till the authorized proceedings are completed.