US star Britney Grenier, who is being held in Russia for drug smuggling, has pleaded guilty

If you don’tDo not intend to violate Russian lawThe NBA player pleaded guilty to drug smuggling during her trial in Russia.

American basketball player Britney Grenier, who has been prosecuted and detained in Russia, pleaded guilty Thursday to drug trafficking charges in a case Washington is closely following amid rising tensions with Moscow. “I would like to plead guilty to all charges (…) but I did not mean to violate Russian law”, the player announced in front of a court in Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow, according to an AFP journalist.

US President Joe Biden is closely watching the trial of Greiner, who has been imprisoned in Russia since February after her arrest for possession of cannabis vaping liquid, and described her release as “priority“.

This case is part of the context of strong bilateral tensions linked to the conflict in Ukraine, with many observers suspecting that Russia is using the case for a future prisoner exchange with the United States. Before the start of the second trial session on Thursday, she denounced the Russian diplomacy “general noise“American leaders on his case believe that this”was snooping” the case. “What can help (…) is the American side’s consideration of the signals it receives from RussiaRussian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

On Wednesday, the White House confirmed that Britney Grenier’s release was “priorityFor the American president, who read a touching letter from the athlete and spoke with his wife. Before that, the highest authorities in Washington had announced that Russia had detained “unfairly» The star 2m03.

see also – The release of Britney Greiner, imprisoned in Russia, is a “priority” for Joe Biden

Message to Biden

The Phoenix Mercury player was arrested in February when she arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow with, according to the prosecution, vaporizers and liquids from cannabis. “I was in a hurry while packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bagThe player who will be questioned by the court in the next session, on July 14, announced Thursday.

Greiner, who faces up to 10 years in prison, arrived at the hearing Thursday handcuffed and escorted by several officers wearing a red shirt and track pants. At the time of her arrest, she was traveling to Russia to play there during the American season, a common practice for WNBA basketball players who often make a living abroad much better than their home country. Given Russian case law in similar cases, this 31-year-old woman can expect a harsh sentence, to be executed in a Russian criminal colony.

The basketball player was arrested in a Russian prison, and he wrote a letter to Joe Biden that was symbolically deposited at the White House on Monday, United States Independence Day, asking the president not to do so.to forget“.”Please don’t forget me and the other American prisoners.‘ ‘ Britney Greiner wrote as she thought, ‘I’m terrified to be here forever“.

prisoner exchange

With observers already anticipating an upcoming prisoner exchange between Grenier and a Russian being held in the United States, Mr. Ryabkov called on Thursday to wait until the end of the trial. “It is clear that all legal proceedings are not over with us. Until that’s done, we can’t talk about the rest‘, the diplomat was sentenced. On Wednesday, Joe Biden called Cheryl Greiner, the basketball player’s wife, to ‘He assured her that he was working to secure Britney’s release as soon as possibleAccording to the White House.

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 had been sentenced to nine years in Russia for the violence he denied, switched Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, imprisoned in the United States since 2010 on drug smuggling charges. Other exchanges of this kind will be the subject of talks. Among the most frequently mentioned are those of Paul Whelan, an American who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage and who 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.

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