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U.S. basketball star Griner’s trial to start Friday in Russia

A Russian court has set the trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner on charges of cannabis possession for Friday and extended her detention for six months.

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on June 27, 2022. - Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

A Russian court has scheduled the trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner on charges of cannabis possession to begin on Friday, July 1, and extended her detention for six months as she awaits the outcome of the case.

She was handcuffed to a Russian officer as she arrived for a preliminary hearing in Moscow.

Drug charges could bring up to 10 years in prison

Russian customs officials detained the Phoenix Mercury center in February after claiming that they found cannabis oil in her belongings at the Sheremetyevo International Airport.

They then alleged that she attempted to smuggle a significant amount of drugs into the country, a crime that could merit up to 10 years of prison time.

Griner had gone to Russia to play for the Russian Premiere League during the WNBA offseason.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that bringing home the eight-time WNBA All-Star was a priority, and that he had spoken to Griner’s wife Cherelle who said she had not spoken to Brittney since February.

“I’ve got no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are being illegally detained, in one way or another around the world, come home. And that includes Paul Whelan. That includes Brittney Griner. That includes people in a number of other countries,” Blinken said.

Griner has been named an honorary starter of the WNBA All-Star Game, which is set to be held in Chicago on July 10.


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