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Brittney Griner testifies about expertise in Russian custody at trial

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner testified Wednesday at her drug trial in Russia {that a} language interpreter translated solely a fraction of what was stated throughout her questioning and officers instructed her to signal paperwork with out offering a proof.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. She acknowledged in courtroom earlier this month that she had vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her baggage when she arrived in Russia however contends she had no legal intent and packed the cartridges inadvertently.

Throughout her testimony, the Phoenix Mercury standout described making a gruelling 13-hour flight to Moscow from Arizona whereas recovering from COVID-19. Griner stated she nonetheless doesn’t understand how the hashish oil ended up in her bag however defined she had a health care provider’s advice for it and had packed in haste.

She recalled getting pulled apart on the airport on Feb. 17 after inspectors discovered the cartridges.

Together with the interpreter who supplied an incomplete translation, Griner stated she acquired neither a proof of her rights nor entry to a lawyer and was instructed to signal paperwork with out a proof of what they implied.

After hours of proceedings she didn’t perceive, she was allowed handy over her private belongings to a lawyer earlier than being led away in handcuffs, Griner stated. She stated she acquired solely a cursory translation of the allegations throughout a Feb. 19 listening to the place a courtroom sanctioned her arrest.

Griner faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted of transporting medicine. Her trial began July 1, and Wednesday was her first look as a witness. The courtroom exterior Moscow held 5 earlier periods that have been brief, some lasting solely about an hour.

It’s unclear how lengthy the trial will final, however a courtroom has licensed Griner’s detention till Dec. 20. She went to Russia to play for a Russian group within the WNBA’s low season.

Throughout Tuesday’s courtroom session of about 90 minutes, a Russian neuropsychologist testified about worldwide use of medicinal hashish, which stays unlawful in Russia. Griner’s defence group has submitted a U.S. physician’s letter recommending the basketball participant use medical hashish to deal with ache.

Griner testified Wednesday that she was affected by ache from accidents sustained throughout her basketball profession. She emphasised that hashish oil is extensively utilized in the USA for medicinal functions and has much less unfavourable results than another painkillers

A Russian Overseas Ministry spokesperson stated final week that the legalization of hashish for medical and leisure use in components of the U.S. had no bearing on what occurs in Russia.

The slow-moving trial and Griner’s 5 months of detention have raised robust criticism amongst teammates and supporters in the USA, which has formally declared her to be “wrongfully detained,” a designation sharply rejected by Russian officers.

Griner was arrested in February amid excessive U.S.-Moscow tensions forward of Russia sending troops into Ukraine later that month. Some supporters contend she is being held in Russia as a pawn, presumably for a prisoner swap. American soccer notable Megan Rapinoe final week stated “she’s being held as a political prisoner, clearly.”

Russian media have speculated that Griner could possibly be exchanged for outstanding Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who’s imprisoned in the USA, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, might also determine in an alternate.

U.S. officers haven’t commented on the prospects for such a commerce. Russian officers have stated no alternate could possibly be mentioned till the conclusion of the authorized proceedings towards Griner.

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