Griner appears before Russian court as trial nears end

by | Aug 2, 2022 | World

Defence lawyer says Griner hopes a prisoner swap would enable her to go home.With the Russian trial of US basketball star Brittney Griner expected to conclude this week, the Russian government has become increasingly critical of public appeals by the US to release Griner, lamenting the use of “megaphone diplomacy”.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist was detained at a Moscow airport in February when she entered the country with vape canisters containing cannabis oil. Griner has pleaded guilty, but said bringing the canisters into Russia was not intentional.
During the hearing, on Tuesday prosecutors called a state narcotics expert who analysed cannabis found in Griner’s luggage. Her defence fielded a specialist who challenged the analysis, charging that it was flawed and did not conform to official rules.
Griner was escorted into court in handcuffs and placed inside a cage during the trial in Khimki, a town on the northern edge of Moscow. While in the cage, she held up personal photos.
Last week Griner had pleaded for leniency, saying that she never intended to break any laws.
She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The trial adjourned until Thursday, when closing statements are scheduled.
The US has promoted a prisoner exchange that could secure her release. Russian officials have said an exchange can only happen after the trial is over.
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“She still knows that the end (of her trial) is near and, of course, she heard the news, so she is hoping that sometime she could be coming home,” Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina said.
The US has …

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