Brittney Griner Goes to Trial in Moscow Court Over Drug Charges

Brittney Griner Goes to Trial in Moscow Court Over Drug Charges
High Times

Brittney Griner, the American basketball star who has been held in a Russian prison since her February arrest over drug smuggling charges, appeared in a Moscow court for the start of her trial on Friday. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 after being accused of carrying cannabis oil in her luggage. “Being sufficiently aware that the movement of narcotic drugs is not allowed… no later than February 17, 2022 at an unspecified location under unspecified circumstances from an unidentified person [Griner] bought two cartridges for personal use, which contained 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil, totaling 0.702 grams,” a prosecutor said in court on Friday, according to CNN. CNN reported that the “prosecution argues that Griner intended to import the drugs into Russia’s territory and put the prohibited substances into a backpack and a suitcase,” and that cannabis oil “is subject to control in Russia and is classified as a narcotic drug.” The trial is scheduled to resume next Friday. Griner faces up to 10 years in prison. Griner, one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in history who stars for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, has become a symbol in the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russia. Her detention, coinciding with Russia’s internationally-condemned invasion of Ukraine, is widely seen as being politically motivated. In May, the United States reclassified Griner as “wrongfully detained.” There is growing speculation that Russia could be angling for a prisoner swap with the U.S., with The New York Times reporting that the Kremlin appears to be linking Griner’s fate with that of Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer currently serving a 25-year federal prison sentence in the United States. That could put President Joe Biden in a diplomatic quandary, according to the Times. “The…

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