Trial opens for American basketball player Britney Grenier, detained in Russia

International – American basketball star Britney Greiner was arrested in February in Russia, and arrived in court on Friday, July 1, handcuffed, wearing a T-shirt with the image of American musician Jimi Hendrix at the start of his trial for drug trafficking. In the afternoon, the trial was adjourned to July 7.

The case is being considered in the Khimki court, a town on the outskirts of Moscow. She added that the closed session, with a limited media presence in the courtroom, was decided upon “at the request of the defense, at the request of Grenier herself.”

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.

Britney Greiner faces up to 10 years in prison

The attorney general said Friday that the solid amount would have represented less than one gram of cannabis. As the customs representative testified. “The US Embassy and the country care deeply about this issue,” US Embassy representative Elizabeth Rudd said in 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 had no “complaints about the conditions of her detention.”

At first, the US authorities did not turn the spotlight on the case of the young woman, who faces a 10-year prison sentence. His arrest was not revealed to the public until 5 March.

The deterioration of Russian-American relations

Sur fond de dégradation continue des relations russo-américaines, en particulier avec le conflit en Ukraine, les plus hautes autorités à Washington se sont ensuite saisies de l’affaire et ont déclaré que la Russie détenait “injustement” de starâ de 2mé 31 years old.

His case is in the hands of the United States’ special envoy for the hostages. 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.

Russian pressure for the release of Victor Bout

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. according to The New York TimesAnd the The Russians are pressing for the release of Victor Bout.

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 passing through 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.

Also watch on The HuffPost: American basketball star Britney Greiner arrested in Russia

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