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US basketball player Griner pleads guilty to drugs charges in Russian court

Brittney Griner, a US basketball player, has pleaded guilty in Russia to drug charges.

In February, the 31-year old was on his way to Russia when he was stopped at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

According to police, she was carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

On Thursday, she told the court: “I would like to plead guilty. Your honor.” There was no intention. “I didn’t intend to violate the law.”

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Russian news agencies reported on the proceedings, and Griner was quoted as saying that Griner had not intended to act because she was packing fast for the trip.

Griner’s lawyers pleaded guilty to her, and one of them told reporters that they hoped for the shortest sentence.

If convicted, the Phoenix Mercury star and two time US Olympic gold medallist could be sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment.

Read more about Russia

Griner is doing well. She can read books, and she is eating well,” Elizabeth Rood (US Embassy Diploma) said to Griner in court.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tweet saying that President Biden had sent her a letter and that they would not relent until she and other wrongfully held Americans are released.

The wife of the player has asked Joe Biden for her release. She called her “a political pawn”.

On Wednesday, the White House stated that President had called his wife and said that he is doing all he can to free Griner.

After Mr. Biden had read a handwritten note from Griner, in which she expressed concern that she wouldn’t return home, they spoke.

She said, “I am aware of the enormity of your situation, but please remember me and other American detainees …”.” “Please do everything you can to bring us back.”

Image Griner plays in the WNBA league for Phoenix Mercury

On Thursday, Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, warned that American attempts to make noise in the public eye… won’t aid the practical settlement of these issues.”

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, previously denied that politics or the Ukraine war were involved in the sports star’s detention.

A Russian spokesperson for the foreign ministry claimed that Griner had committed “serious offenses” and was supported by “indisputable proof”.


Speculation about the ‘Merchant of Death’ swap

This case is gaining momentum in the US with prominent activists Rev Al Sharpton and others calling for President Biden’s attention to the matter.

Griner’s supporters encourage a prisoner exchange like the one in April, which sent home Marine veteran Trevor Reed in return for a Russian pilot convicted in a drug-trafficking conspiracy.

Russian media speculate that she could be traded for Viktor Bout, an arms trader who was nicknamed “Merchant of Death” and currently serving 25 years in a US jail.

However, Mr Ryabkov stated that there are no formal or procedural grounds to discuss any additional steps until the trial ends.

Griner was traveling to Russia to play in the Russian league for UMMC Ekaterinburg to increase her income during the US offseason.

The trial started last week, but was canceled after two witnesses failed. There are also fears that it could take several months.

Her next appearance is scheduled for 14th July.

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