Basketball star Brittney Griner’s trial has begun in Moscow. The professional NBA basketball star was arrested outside Moscow in February after vape cartridges holding hashish oil were allegedly found in her possession.
Brittney Griner is a Women’s NBA all-star. She also won the Olympic gold medal twice. She arrived for the trial at a court on the fringes of Moscow. If convicted she could face up to a decade in prison.
The 31-year-old athlete was in handcuffs as she arrived at the Khimki Court. She was wearing a Tee with a picture of Jimi Hendrix. 3 people accompanied her, their identities were unknown. American embassy personnel were in attendance during the proceedings. No cameras were allowed within the court premises.
Two Witnesses Testify On the First Day Of Brittney Griner’s Trial
Of the two witnesses who were questioned by the prosecution, one was in an open court on the first day of the trial. The first was a customs official followed by an anonymous witness who testified in a closed trial session.
Griner’s trial was adjourned after this as two other witnesses slated to appear were not present. The second session is set for the seventh of July.
Brittney Griner’s attorney, Alexander Boykov refused to speak about the case specifics or on any charge against his client. He said it was too early to comment on the case.
Elizabeth Rood, the American Charge d’Affairs said that Brittney Griner was doing well given the circumstances and was keeping the faith. The American State Dept. has stated that Griner had been wrongfully detained. They further revealed that it was negotiating for Griner’s release even as the relationship with Russia is at its worst since the end of the Cold War.
Griner was arrested days before Russia invaded Ukraine. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman said that there was no politics involved in the case. He said that she had been detained with narcotics and would receive her punishment under Russian laws. He said it is for the court to pass a verdict.
American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has said that bringing her and US marine Paul Whelan back was a priority for the US. Paul Whelan, a US marine, has been in Russian custody since 2018 on charges of spying, a charge that he has denied.