Detained U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner arrives at Russian court


U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained in March at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, is escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia July 1, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

KHIMKI, Russia (Reuters) -U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner arrived at a courtroom on the outskirts of Moscow on Friday to face trial on drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in prison.

Arriving at Khimki City Court in handcuffs, the 31-year-old athlete was seen wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. She was accompanied by three people, with U.S. embassy staff also in attendance.

One woman led her handcuffed down a corridor inside the building. Cameras were not permitted in the court.

The case, which coincides with fraught relations between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine, was brought after Russian authorities said they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in Griner's luggage at a Moscow airport in February.

Griner, a star in the U.S.-based Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), was detained and charged with smuggling a large quantity of drugs, an offence that can carry up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. officials and a score of athletes have called for the release of Griner - or "BG" as she is known to basketball fans. They say she has been wrongfully detained and should be immediately returned to her family in the United States.

Griner's detention also prompted concerns that Moscow could use the two-time Olympic gold medalist to negotiate the release of a high-profile Russian in U.S. custody.

The Kremlin has said that Griner violated Russian laws and denied she was being held hostage amid Russia's stand-off with the United States.

Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury, had played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia during the WNBA off-season, like several other U.S. players offered lucrative contracts by the Russian Women's Basketball Premier League.

However some have now left the Russian league, amid Griner's detention and Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Frank Jack Daniel)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Richemont’s Watchfinder reports customer data breach
Useless meetings waste time and US$100mil a year for big companies
Man she met on dating app drives woman into a river after dispute, US cops say
U.S. whistleblowers aiding migrant children feared retaliation -watchdog
Ransom demand probed after data hack, Australia’s Optus says
Cost of crypto: Report says US bitcoin as dirty as six million cars
'Mocking us': Parents of missing Mexican students slam government missteps
Hackers leak French hospital patient data in ransom fight
With a gamer prince and oil billions, Saudi turns to esports
‘A new era’: Nasa strikes asteroid in key test of planetary defence

Others Also Read