US basketball star Griner, going through Russian jail time period, sends thanks for help By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. basketball participant Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with unlawful possession of hashish, sits inside a defendants’ cage after the court docket’s verdict in Khimki outdoors Moscow, Russia August 4

MOSCOW (Reuters) – American WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner, whose attraction in opposition to a Russian jail time period is because of be heard subsequent week, despatched her supporters a message of thanks on Tuesday, her thirty second birthday.

The 2-time Olympic gold medallist was arrested on Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her baggage, and was sentenced on Aug. 4 to 9 years in a penal colony on drug smuggling expenses. Her attraction is because of be heard subsequent Tuesday.

“All of the help and love are undoubtedly serving to me,” Griner was quoted as saying by her legal professionals Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, who spent a number of hours along with her within the Moscow pre-trial detention centre the place she is being held.

Griner pleaded responsible at her trial however stated she had made an “trustworthy mistake” and never meant to interrupt the legislation. Hashish is prohibited in Russia for each medicinal and leisure functions.

“At this time is in fact a tough day for Brittney,” stated Blagovolina, who’s representing Griner in court docket.

“Not solely is that this her birthday in jail away from her household, workforce mates and mates, however she may be very careworn in anticipation of the attraction listening to on Oct. 25.”

Washington says Griner was wrongfully detained and has provided to alternate her for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms vendor serving a 25-year jail sentence in the US. It stated final week it had had no consular entry to her since August.

Moscow has additionally urged it’s open to a prisoner swap.

Invoice Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who travelled to Moscow in September, has stated he believes Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan might each be launched by the top of the 12 months.

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