At her trial in Russia on July 27, American basketball player Brittney Griner claimed that the people who detained her at Moscow airport in February did not properly translate everything stated to her or explain her rights.
Griner said she was stopped at the airport on February 17 when investigators discovered cannabis oil in vape cartridges in her luggage during a trial at the Khimki district court west of Moscow.
The American Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player claimed that while she was placed in the defendant’s cage. A translator was there but all he could manage to say was “Sign this, sign that.”
According to Griner, the interpreter “didn’t clarify the subject of the paper.”
“I wasn’t really aware of what I was signing.”
She further claimed that no accessibility to a lawyer were provided.
Griner claimed that before being taken into custody, authorities took vape cartridges out of her suitcase. They cracked them to open, and smelled the contents.
She claimed that she received a prescription for medicinal cannabis from her doctor to relieve the pain from wounds. She sustained injuries during her time playing basketball. In Russia, medical marijuana is still illegal. Griner may spend up to 10 years imprisonment if found guilty of narcotics trafficking.
Earlier in the trial, Griner entered a guilty plea but said she had no intention of violating Russian law.
Griner reiterated in her testimony: “I did not think of or plan to bring banned substances into Russia”.
Basketball player Brittney Griner, who has won two gold medals for the United States at the Olympics, is currently absent from the 2022 WNBA season, during which her team, the Phoenix Mercury, will continue to raise awareness of her detainment and put pressure on the federal government to take further action on her best interests.
Griner has been wrongfully jailed, according to U.S. authorities and notable athletes, and is being used as a pawn in a political game to win the release of a Russian imprisoned in the country or the lifting of sanctions put in place by Washington as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Kremlin, Griner must be punished for breaking Russian law, and the case against her is not related to politics.
According to reports in American and Russian media, the United States may request the return of Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan were both arrested in December 2018 and charged with espionage.