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US basketball star Brittney Griner ‘keeping the faith’ as she appears in Russian court on drugs charges | World News


American basketball star Brittney Griner has informed a US diplomat she is “keeping the faith” after showing in a Russian court on hashish possession charges.

US Charge d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood, who attended Friday’s court listening to in Khimki, outdoors Moscow, informed reporters she had been in a position to communicate to the WNBA participant, who was “as well as can be expected”.

The 31-year-old was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February whereas travelling to play for a Russian crew.

Police stated she was carrying vape canisters with hashish oil.

The Phoenix Mercury star and two-time US Olympic gold medallist might withstand 10 years in jail if convicted of large-scale transportation of drugs.

Griner’s supporters have inspired a prisoner swap like the one in April that despatched house marine veteran Trevor Reed in alternate for a Russian pilot convicted of drug-trafficking conspiracy.

Russian information media have repeatedly raised hypothesis Griner could possibly be swapped for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death”.

He is serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to kill US residents and offering support to a terrorist organisation.

However, the huge distinction between Griner’s alleged drugs charges – and Bout’s world dealings in lethal weapons – might make such a swap unlikely.

In addition, the athlete’s detention comes at a very low level in relations between the two international locations amid the warfare in Ukraine.

Brittney Griner was escorted to the court hearing in handcuffs
Brittney Griner (R) was escorted to the court listening to in handcuffs

Russia’s invasion has led to sweeping sanctions imposed by Washington, whereas Moscow has denounced the US for sending weapons to Ukraine.

Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, has urged US President Joe Biden to safe her launch, calling her “a political pawn”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday denied politics had something to do with the sportswoman’s detention and prosecution.

“The facts are that the famous athlete was detained in possession of prohibited medication containing narcotic substances,” he informed reporters.

“In view of what I’ve said, it can’t be politically motivated,” he added.

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