KHIMKI, Russia — A attorney for WNBA star Brittney Griner at her drug possession demo in Russia on Friday gave the courtroom a U.S. doctor’s letter recommending she use healthcare cannabis to take care of soreness.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and standout for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February just after customs officials mentioned they observed vape canisters that contains cannabis oil in her baggage. She faces up to 10 decades in jail if convicted on prices of transporting medicines.
In court docket final 7 days, Griner pleaded guilty and acknowledged possessing the canisters but claimed she had no prison intent and stated they were in her baggage due to the fact she packed rapidly in her return to Russia to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team all through the WNBA’s offseason.
In Russia’s judicial procedure, admitting guilt does not automatically stop a demo. Given that that plea, her courtroom periods have targeted on in-individual and penned testimony to her good character and athletic prowess.
Griner wore a Nirvana T-shirt as she sat inside of the defendant’s cage that is customary in Russian courtrooms. At one level, she held up a picture of fellow WNBA players sporting her name and No. 42 on their uniforms in tribute for the duration of portion of Sunday’s All-Star Video game in Chicago.
“The attending physician gave Brittney tips for the use of medical hashish,” said her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina. “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Division of Wellness.”
Health-related cannabis is not authorized in Russia.
The protection on Friday also submitted checks she underwent as portion of an anti-doping look at, which did not detect any prohibited substances in her technique.
The following hearing of Griner’s circumstance was scheduled for July 26.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of Condition Antony Blinken have mentioned they are doing all they could to win her release, as nicely as that of other Us residents the U.S. considers “wrongly detained” by Russia, such as previous Maritime Paul Whelan who is serving 16 a long time on an espionage conviction.
Washington may possibly have tiny leverage with Moscow, however, simply because of powerful animosity in excess of its military services operation in Ukraine.
“In the hearings yesterday and currently what grew to become incredibly crystal clear is the huge amount of money of regard and admiration both of those in the United States and listed here in Russia where by Miss out on Griner has been playing basketball for seven many years, not only for her specialist achievements but for her character and integrity,” U.S. Embassy charge d’affaires Elizabeth Rood explained outside the house the courthouse in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, where the airport is situated.
The director and staff captain of UMMC Ektaerinburg testified on her behalf on Thursday.
Russian media have speculated that Griner could be swapped for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, nicknamed “the Merchant of Dying,” who is serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. after becoming convicted of conspiracy to destroy U.S. citizens and giving aid to a terrorist corporation.
Russia has agitated for Bout’s release for several years. But the broad discrepancy in the seriousness of their conditions could make these kinds of a trade unpalatable to Washington. Other folks have suggested that Griner could be traded alongside with Whelan, who is serving 16 decades in Russia on an espionage conviction that the U.S. has described as a set up.
The State Department’s designation of Griner as wrongfully detained moves her scenario below the supervision of its exclusive presidential envoy for hostage affairs, properly the government’s main hostage negotiator. The classification has irritated Russia.
Requested about the risk of Griner remaining swapped for a Russian jailed in the U.S., Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the senior Russian diplomat, has famous that right until her demo is in excess of “there are no formal or procedural reasons to speak about any more steps.”
Ryabkov warned that U.S. criticism, together with the description of Griner as wrongfully detained and dismissive reviews about the Russian judicial program, “makes it complicated to engage in detailed dialogue of any doable exchanges.”
Griner’s detention has been authorized as a result of Dec. 20, suggesting the demo could final months. Griner’s legal professionals, even so, explained they expect it to conclude all-around the starting of August.