American basketball player Brittney Griner pleads guilty in Russian court | People | Entertainment

US basketball player Brittney Griner, charged in Russia with drug possession and smuggling, pleaded guilty Thursday in a Moscow court.

The athlete, who used a translator during the Khimki Court session, admitted all the charges, although she indicated that she had no intention of committing a crime, according to the Interfax agency.

Griner explained the presence of cannabis oil in his luggage with the haste with which he packed his bags to travel to Russia.

The The next hearing of the trial, in which the sentence is expected, will be held on July 14.

In Thursday’s session, the court took statements from two prosecution witnesses who participated in the search of the athlete’s belongings at Russian customs.

The charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Russia, Elizabeth Rood, gave the basketball player a letter from US President Joe Biden, according to what she told the press.

“I was able to talk to Mrs. Griner in the courtroom. She told me that she eats well, has the ability to read books, and assured that, considering the circumstances, everything is going well for her. The most important thing is that I was able to deliver to the Griner a letter from President Biden and she managed to read that letter,” he said.

The US president telephoned Griner’s family on Wednesday, after receiving numerous criticisms for not having responded earlier to a letter that the athlete sent him on Monday.

According to the White House, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, to assure her that they are working to free his wife as soon as possible, as well as other Americans “wrongfully” arrested in Russia.

Possibility of negotiation

For its part, Moscow accused Washington of creating media noise around this case and pointed out that this does not help the negotiations between the two countries for an exchange of prisoners.

“We have long-established negotiation mechanisms on these issues. We understand the attempts by the US side to stir up this situation, to make noise in the public space, but they do not help the practical solution of this matter,” said the Russian deputy foreign minister. , Sergei Ryabkov.

The senior Russian diplomatic representative recalled that the process against Griner has not concluded and as long as there is no verdict from a court, “there is no formal basis” to talk about next steps.

According to Riabkov, the persistence with which the US describes its citizens convicted or prosecuted in Russia as ‘detained persons’, “reflects Washington’s lack of desire to accept reality in an adequate way.”

“It is quite difficult to engage in a detailed negotiation of any type of exchange” between prisoners from both countries in the context of so many accusations, media noise and networks created by the US.

The 31-year-old athlete, double world and Olympic champion with her country, was arrested in February at the Sheremétevo airport in Moscow after customs officials found cannabis oil among her belongings.

Subsequently, the basketball player was arrested for drug possession and smuggling and has been in preventive detention ever since.

prisoner exchange

Previously, it was known that Russia and the United States negotiate the exchange of the player for the Russian arms dealer Víktor But, known as the “merchant of death” and serving a sentence in a US prison.

But is serving 25 years in prison, among other things, for conspiring to kill US citizens and selling weapons to the former Colombian FARC guerrilla organization.

Recently, Russia and the US exchanged the American student Trevor Reed, sentenced to nine years in prison for resisting authority, by Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, sentenced in the US to 20 years for drug smuggling. (YO)