Basketball star Britney Greiner is on trial in Russia on drug smuggling charges. The case, being judged behind closed doors, has strong political connotations in the midst of the Russian-American crisis.
The new US-Russian confrontation. US women’s basketball star Britney Greiner will stand trial behind closed doors in Russia on Friday 1Verse July for drug smuggling. An issue taking a special turn with the conflict in Ukraine and the rising tensions between Washington and Moscow.
The decision was taken in the partial closed session, with a limited media presence in the courtroom, at the “demand of the defense, at the request of Grenier herself,” as stated Polina Vdovtsova, a spokeswoman for the court. Moscow suburbs. She arrives at court, hands bound and wearing a T-shirt with Jimi Hendrix’s portrait on it.
The Phoenix Mercury player came to Russia in February to play there during the US downturn, a common practice for basketball players who sometimes earn more abroad than they earn at home.
Arriving at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, the two-time Olympic gold medalist with the United States (2016, 2020) was arrested for possession, according to the charge, of an electronic cigarette and liquid to a cannabis base. She faces up to 10 years in prison.
US authorities initially kept the spotlight on his case, which was not disclosed to the public until March 5.
‘Unfair’ detention of Americans
Against the background of the constant deterioration of Russian-American relations, in particular with the conflict in Ukraine, the highest authorities in Washington took advantage of the matter and announced that Russia was “unfairly” holding the 31-year-old star 2m 03.
His case is in the hands of the United States’ special envoy for the hostages.
“The US embassy and the country care deeply about this case,” Elizabeth Rudd, a representative of the US embassy, said outside court.
“She told me to convey that spirits are high and that she maintains faith,” Britney Greiner added.
Defense attorney Alexander Bokov said during the intermission that the defendant had not yet spoken at trial.
He also confirmed that “she has no complaints about the conditions of her detention.”
In view of Russian case law in similar cases, the young woman can expect a severe sentence, to be served in a Russian criminal colony.
Americans and Russians accuse each other of detaining their citizens for political purposes. Many prisoners have been exchanged in the past.
In April, former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was sentenced to nine years in Russia for violence, was exchanged for a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been imprisoned in the United States since 2010 for drug smuggling.
Other exchanges of this kind will be the subject of talks.
Among the names mentioned most often are Paul Whelan, the American who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage and has claimed his innocence, and the famous Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, who was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is serving a 25-year sentence. In prison in the United States.
A case similar to that of Britney Grenier resulted in a diplomatic agreement between Moscow and Israel.
In January 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned Israeli-American Naama Issachar, imprisoned in Russia for “drug smuggling”, during a meeting in Moscow with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who left with the young woman.
Naama Issachar was arrested in April 2019 while transiting Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on a flight from India to Israel with a connection to the Russian capital. Nine grams of cannabis were found in his checked bags.
After that, no analogues were announced in favor of Russia.