WNBA champion Brittney Griner appears in Russian court


brittney griner court russia lesbian
Images: Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons, ABC News

American basketball champion Brittney Griner has appeared in Russian court for day one of her trial.

The lesbian WNBA star has been in Russian custody since February — only days before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Griner was arrested at Moscow airport on February 17, she had flown to Russia to play in the Russian league during the WNBA’s off-season.

Griner was allegedly carrying 0.7 grams of hashish oil in vape cartridges.

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The New York Times reports that Griner has been charged with “large-scale transportation of drugs, an offense that can carry a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars in Russia”.

However, after several weeks in jail, the U.S. government classified her as wrongfully detained.

 

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According to CNN, at her hearing, the U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood reiterated that Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained.

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“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 said.

Russian media have reported that President Vladimir Putin could exchange Griner for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Brittney Griner’s wife speaks out

In an interview on Thursday, Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner said the Biden administration should do more to secure her release.

“It’s really, really difficult. This is not a situation where the rhetoric is matching the action,” she said.

“I do have to unfortunately push people to make sure that the things they’re telling me is also matching their actions and so it’s been the hardest thing to balance because I can’t let up.

“It’s over 130 days and BG’s still not back.”

A campaign is petitioning for Griner’s release, you can sign here.

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