Brittney Griner being led from Russian courtroom on first day of trial
More than 4 months after her arrest in Moscow, US girls’s basketball star Brittney Griner appeared in a Russian court docket on Friday for what was anticipated to be the start of her trial on drug fees.
The 31-year-old athlete was seen arriving at Khimki City Court outdoors of Moscow in handcuffs shortly after midday native time, with US embassy employees in attendance.
She then heard her fees, together with deliberately transporting narcotics. Facing as much as 10 years in jail in Russia, Griner accepted the fees and didn’t enter a plea, reviews stated.
A centre for the Phoenix Mercury, Griner had performed for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia through the WNBA low season, and was arrested on her approach dwelling when Russian airport officers say they discovered vape cartridges with traces of cannabis oil – an offence within the nation.
Lawyers for Griner – whose spouse has pleaded for US President Joe Biden to fulfill together with her and safe the WNBA’s star launch – consider the trial will final two months, reviews say. Proceedings resume on 7 July.
Ms Griner’s spouse additionally revealed the 6 foot -inch tall basketball participant is compelled to endure five-hour roundtrip journeys to court docket in a “tiny cage”.
Show newest replace
What would possibly a deal to free Brittney Griner from Russia appear to be?
Brittney Griner’s supporters have inspired US authorities to barter a prisoner swap just like the one in April that introduced dwelling Marine veteran Trevor Reed in change for a Russian pilot convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy.
Russian information media have repeatedly raised hypothesis that she could possibly be swapped for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed “the Merchant of Death,” who’s serving a 25-year sentence on conviction of conspiracy to kill US residents and offering help to a terrorist organisation.
Russia has agitated for Bout’s launch for years. But the broad discrepancy between Griner’s case — which entails alleged possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil — and Bout’s international dealings in lethal weapons may make such a swap unpalatable to the US.
Others have urged that she could possibly be traded in tandem with Paul Whelan, a former Marine and safety director serving a 16-year sentence on an espionage conviction that the US has repeatedly described as a setup.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, when requested on Sunday on CNN whether or not a joint swap of Griner and Whelan for Bout was being thought of, sidestepped the query.
“As a general proposition … I have got no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are being illegally detained in one way or another around the world come home,” he stated. But he stated he couldn’t remark “in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority.”
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 17:05
Brittney Griner’s spouse says 6’9” WBNA star compelled into tiny cage for journeys to court docket
Brittney Griner’s spouse says the WBNA she is compelled right into a tiny cage and pushed for 5 hours each time she has to seem in court docket.
Cherelle Griner informed CNN’s New Day on Thursday that her 6 ft and 9 inches tall spouse has to endure a five-hour spherical journey from the place is being detained to court docket, throughout which she is saved in a small cage and compelled to bend her physique to suit inside.
Cherelle stated Brittney, also called BG, informed her she was “exhausted”.
”So BG is having to journey over 5 hours spherical journey when she goes to court docket in a really, very, very tiny cage together with her knees bent, ft as much as the bottom as a result of it isn’t large enough for her to slot in.”
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 16:56
Watch: Brittney Griner’s sister pleads for Russia free her
Brittney Griner’s sister pleads for Russia to disregard politics and free her
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 16:45
Prosecutor unveils particulars of fees
A report by Russian information company TASS particulars the fees in opposition to Brittney Griner as learn out in court docket at present.
“Being quite aware that it is banned to carry narcotic substances in the Eurasian Economic Union, she bought two cartridges holding 0.252 and 0.45 grams of cannabis oil, or 0.702 grams in total, for personal consumption from an unidentified person in an unidentified location and under unidentified circumstances but not later than February 17, 2022,” the prosecutor stated, including that later Griner put the prohibited substances in her backpack and suitcase in a bid to smuggle the medication into Russia.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 16:25
ICYMI: Griner’s agent says US negotiations should stay precedence
In a tweet on Monday after an administrative listening to forward of the trial, Brittney Griner’s agent Lindsey Kagawa Colas stated that negotiations for her consumer’s rapid launch ought to stay a “top priority” and that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris ought to do “everything in their power, right now, to get a deal done to bring her home”.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 15:55
Case comes at low level in US-Russia relations
Brittney Griner’s case comes at an awfully low level in Moscow-Washington relations. Griner was arrested lower than per week earlier than Russia despatched troops into Ukraine, which aggravated already excessive tensions between the 2 international locations. The US then imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow, and Russia denounced the U. for sending weapons to Ukraine.
Elizabeth Rood, US cost d’affaires in Moscow, was in court docket and stated she spoke with Griner, who “is doing as well as can be expected in these difficult circumstances.”
“The Russian Federation has wrongfully detained Brittney Griner,” Ms Rood stated. “The practice of wrongful detention is unacceptable wherever it occurs and is a threat to the safety of everyone traveling, working, and living abroad.”
She stated the US authorities, from its highest ranges, “is working hard to bring Brittney and all wrongfully detained U.S. nationals home safely.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday denied politics performed a job in Griner’s detention and prosecution.
“The facts are that the famous athlete was detained in possession of prohibited medication containing narcotic substances,” Mr Peskov informed reporters.
“In view of what I’ve said, it can’t be politically motivated,” he added.
Griner’s supporters had saved a low profile in hopes of a quiet decision till May, when the State Department reclassified her as wrongfully detained and shifted oversight of her case to its particular presidential envoy for hostage affairs — successfully the US authorities’s chief negotiator.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 15:35
Watch: Brittney Griner detained at Russian airport
American basketball star Brittney Griner is detained in Russian airport
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 15:15
Detention prolonged six months
Appearing in court docket handcuffed and carrying a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, Brittney Griner was informed within the closed-door preliminary listening to that her detention was prolonged for an additional six months to twenty December.
The two-time Olympic maintain medalist faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted. She was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after police stated she was carrying vape canisters with hashish oil.
Fewer than one per cent of defendants in Russian legal instances are acquitted, and in contrast to within the US, acquittals might be overturned.
WNBA participant Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a listening to, in Khimki City Court, outdoors Moscow, Russia
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 15:00
Embassy official says Griner ‘keeping up the faith’
Elizabeth Rood, the charge d’affaires on the US Embassy in Moscow, informed reporters outdoors of the court docket that she and the consular crew noticed the beginning of Brittney Griner’s trial, have been capable of communicate together with her within the courtroom, and “she is doing as well as can be expected in these difficult circumstances.”
“She asked me to convey that she is in good spirits and is keeping up the faith,” Ms Rood stated.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 14:44
Trial will resume on 7 July
The New York Times reviews:
RIA Novosti, a Russian information company, reported within the afternoon that the listening to had been adjourned till Thursday after some witnesses failed to indicate up in court docket on Friday.
CNN additionally reviews that the trial will resume on Thursday 7 July.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 14:25