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WNBA star Brittany Griner testifies in Russia drug trial that interpreter provided incomplete translation during her interrogation

American basketball star drug trial Brittany Griner Russians resumed Wednesday in court, with Griner testifying that a language interpreter provided during his interrogation translated only a fraction of what was said.

Griner was arrested at the Moscow airport in February. She admitted in court earlier this month that she had vape canisters containing cannabis oil when she arrived in Russia, but argued she had no criminal intent and that the canisters inadvertently ended up in her luggage.

During his testimony, the Phoenix Mercury standout described a grueling 13-hour flight from Arizona to Moscow while recovering from COVID-19. She recalled how her luggage was checked upon arrival and pulled aside after a canister was found in her luggage.

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WNBA basketball superstar Brittany Griner arrives for a hearing at Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 27, 2022.

Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP via Getty Images


Along with the interpreter, who allegedly provided an incomplete translation, Griner said she was neither given an explanation of her rights nor offered access to lawyers and that she received an explanation of what was implied. Was instructed to sign the documents without

Griner could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of transporting drugs. His trial began on July 1 and so far the five previous court sessions were short, some of which lasted only an hour.

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WNBA basketball superstar Brittany Griner holds photographs standing inside a defendant’s cage before a hearing at Khimki Court outside Moscow on July 27, 2022.

Alexander Zemlyanichenko / Pool / AFP via Getty Images


It is unclear how long the trial will last, but a court has authorized the Phoenix Mercury player’s custody until December 20. Griner went to Russia to play for a Russian team in the WNBA off-season.

During Tuesday’s court session of nearly 90 minutes, a Russian neuropsychologist testified about the worldwide use of medicinal cannabis, which is illegal in Russia. Griner’s defense team submitted a letter from an American doctor recommending a basketball player to use medical cannabis to treat pain.

Defense lawyer Alexander Boykov said Tuesday, “The Russian public needs to know, and the Russian court will first need to know that it was not used for recreational purposes in the United States. It was prescribed by a doctor.” “

Boykov said Griner’s defense nonetheless focused on canisters locked in his luggage due to hasty packing. Medical testimony and Griner’s confession that he had the canisters were intended to bring him a minor sentence.

Maria Blagovolina, one of Griner’s lawyers, said, “We have a lot of mitigating factors. So we hope the court will take that into account. And the courts in Russia actually have very wide discretion with regard to sentencing.” ,

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said last week that the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use in parts of the US had no bearing on what happens in Russia.

The slow-moving trial and five-month custody of Griner have drawn strong criticism among teammates and supporters in the United States.

Griner wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden urging him to secure his release. with him Found guilty to the charges, but she says she had no intention of breaking the law.

The US has officially labeled Griner as “wrongfully detained”.

Griner was arrested in February amid high US-Moscow tensions before Russia sent troops to Ukraine later that month. Some supporters argue that he is being held as a pawn in Russia, possibly for a prisoner swap. “She’s being held as a political prisoner, obviously,” American football notable Megan Rapinoe said last week.

Russian media speculated that Griner may have been exchanged for prominent Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage. , may also be involved in an exchange.

US officials have not commented on the prospects of such trade. Russian officials have said that no exchange can be discussed until legal proceedings against Griner are over.

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