US basketball player Brittney Griner, who has been jailed in Russia, has pleaded guilty to a drug offense in a court near Moscow. This was reported by Russian news agencies on Thursday from the courtroom in Khimki in the Moscow region, citing a translation.
Griner also explained that she did not want to commit a crime, but acted in great haste when packing, as the Interfax agency reported from the room. She was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February.
Griner has been in custody for four and a half months, which was last extended until December 20th. The Olympic champion is accused of possession of drugs, her trial began last Friday and is scheduled to continue on July 14. She faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.
Griner also sent a letter to US President Joe Biden asking for help. The US President then promised her wife on Wednesday that he would try to get the Olympic champion released as soon as possible. In a phone call, he offered Cherelle Griner his support and promised that the US government would do whatever it takes to bring Griner home, the White House said.
Washington criticizes that Griner is wrongly detained. Moscow, on the other hand, rejects the accusation that the trial against Griner was politically motivated.
The basketball player is said to have had so-called vape cartridges and hashish oil with her when her luggage was checked in Sheremetyevo in February. It is said to have been only 0.5 grams.
Since 2015, Griner has played for the UMMC Jekaterinburg team in the Urals and won the Euroleague four times with the top club. She is considered one of the best basketball players in the American women’s professional league WNBA. With the Phoenix Mercury she won the championship in 2014, with the US national team she won two Olympic gold medals and two gold medals at world championships. Many professional players like Griner are not only active in their home leagues, but also abroad, including in Russia so far.