Sport: WNBA's Griner says poor translation clouded arrest in Russia

Brittney Griner Appears in Court Tuesday, Expert Testifies Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

  Brittney Griner Appears in Court Tuesday, Expert Testifies Medicinal Uses of Cannabis The WNBA star is expected to testify WednesdayBrittney Griner appeared in court Tuesday as her legal team shared supporting evidence about the medicinal use of cannabis.

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner testified Wednesday at her drug trial in Russia that a language interpreter translated only a fraction of what was said during her questioning and officials instructed her to sign documents without providing an explanation.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) © Provided by Associated Press – Sports WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press – Sports WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. She acknowledged in court earlier this month that she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she arrived in Russia but contends she had no criminal intent and packed the cartridges inadvertently.

Brittney Griner Wishes Wife Cherelle 'Good Luck on the Bar Exam' from Russian Court

  Brittney Griner Wishes Wife Cherelle 'Good Luck on the Bar Exam' from Russian Court Griner's wife, Cherelle, recently graduated from North Carolina Central University School of Law in May. Cherelle started the intensive, two-day exam to become a practicing lawyer Tuesday. Griner told ABC News that she is "waiting patiently" while in custody but has "no complaints." During the hearing, she held up a sign that included a photograph of her and Cherelle. The Phoenix Mercury center was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport in February after officials allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil, an illegal substance in Russia, in her luggage.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP) © Provided by Associated Press – Sports WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

During her testimony, the Phoenix Mercury standout described making a grueling 13-hour flight to Moscow from Arizona while recovering from COVID-19. Griner said she still does not know how the cannabis oil ended up in her bag but explained she had a doctor’s recommendation for it and had packed in haste.

Russia's Lavrov says he will discuss US prisoner swap offer

  Russia's Lavrov says he will discuss US prisoner swap offer MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that he's open to a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss a possible prisoner swap involving American basketball star Brittney Griner. Blinken said Wednesday that Washington had offered Russia a deal that would bring home Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. A person familiar with the matter said the U.S. government proposed trading convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Whelan and Griner.

She recalled getting pulled aside at the airport on Feb. 17 after inspectors found the cartridges.

Along with the interpreter who provided an incomplete translation, Griner said she received neither an explanation of her rights nor access to a lawyer and was instructed to sign documents without an explanation of what they implied.

After hours of proceedings she did not understand, she was allowed to hand over her personal belongings to a lawyer before being led away in handcuffs, Griner said. She said she received only a cursory translation of the allegations during a Feb. 19 hearing where a court sanctioned her arrest.

A policeman removes the handcuffs from WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner in a courtroom prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) © Provided by Associated Press – Sports A policeman removes the handcuffs from WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner in a courtroom prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of transporting drugs. Her trial started July 1, and Wednesday was her first appearance as a witness. The court outside Moscow held five previous sessions that were short, some lasting only about an hour.

Kremlin poker-faced on US swap offer to free Griner, Whelan

  Kremlin poker-faced on US swap offer to free Griner, Whelan MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin warned Thursday that a possible prisoner swap with the United States involving American basketball star Brittney Griner needs to be negotiated quietly without fanfare. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Washington had offered Russia a deal that would bring home Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. A person familiar with the matter said the U.S. government proposed trading convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Whelan and Griner.

It is unclear how long the trial will last, but a court has authorized Griner's detention until Dec. 20. She went to Russia to play for a Russian team in the WNBA's off-season.

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

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) © Provided by Associated Press – Sports WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Griner testified Wednesday that she was suffering from pain from injuries sustained during her basketball career. She emphasized that cannabis oil is widely used in the United States for medicinal purposes and has less negative effects than some other painkillers

Dawn Staley Comments on Brittney Griner’s Sentencing

  Dawn Staley Comments on Brittney Griner’s Sentencing The South Carolina and Team USA basketball coach discussed the sentencing of Griner and what she hopes happens next. View the original article to see embedded media. WNBA star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony and fined by a Russian court on Thursday on charges of smuggling drugs with criminal intent. The Mercury star was arrested at an airport near Moscow in February and accused of having hashish oil in her luggage. After her sentencing, South Carolina and USA Basketball coach Dawn Staley discussed Griner’s verdict and what should happen next.

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

The slow-moving trial and Griner's five months of detention have raised strong criticism among teammates and supporters in the United States, which has formally declared her to be “wrongfully detained,” a designation sharply rejected by Russian officials.

Griner was arrested in February amid high U.S.-Moscow tensions ahead of Russia sending troops into Ukraine later that month. Some supporters contend she is being held in Russia as a pawn, possibly for a prisoner swap. American soccer notable Megan Rapinoe last week said “she’s being held as a political prisoner, obviously.”

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner holds images standing in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) © Provided by Associated Press – Sports WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner holds images standing in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

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

U.S. officials have not commented on the prospects for such a trade. Russian officials have said no exchange could be discussed until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against Griner.

Brittney Griner Lost Long Before Her Conviction .
Regardless of how the U.S. standoff with Russia ends, the WNBA superstar will keep paying the price. Last fall, as she played in her second WNBA Finals, Brittney Griner did what she does so easily, which is shift the topic away from her sport. “I’m not your typical basketball player,” she said, not defensively or defiantly, but just because she knows it’s true. So during a week when her Mercury battled the Sky for the championship, Griner was sharing her plans for when she stops playing basketball.“I want to go to Sturgis,” she said.

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