Kallanum Bhagavathiyum
DH Latest NewsDH NEWSLatest NewsNEWSSportsInternationalCrime

U.S. basketball player admits to taking Russian drugs, but denies using them

Brittney Griner of the United States pled guilty to a narcotics allegation in a Russian court on Thursday, but she denied breaking the law on purpose. Griner was speaking at the second hearing of her trial on a drugs allegation that could land her in prison for up to ten years, just days after urging US President Joe Biden to win her release.

‘I’d want to enter a guilty plea, your honour. However, there was no intention. I didn’t want to breach the law ‘, Griner said this quietly in English, which was subsequently translated into Russian for the court. ‘ I’d prefer to testify later. I need time to prepare, ‘she continued The next court appearance was set for July 14.

Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boykov, told reporters that they were seeking the most compassionate sentence possible. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was seized in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport with vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is prohibited in Russia and has been held ever since. She asked Biden in a handwritten message earlier this week to help up US efforts to bring her home.

‘I understand you have a lot on your plate, but don’t forget about me and the other American captives…’  Griner penned a letter. ‘ Please do all you can to get us home’.  According to the White House, Biden called Griner’s wife on Wednesday and told her that he was working to have her released ‘as quickly as possible’.  Officials in the United States and a number of players have urged for the release of Griner, or ‘BG’ as she is affectionately known among basketball fans, who they claim has been unlawfully incarcerated.

Her situation has also raised worries that Moscow may use it as leverage to negotiate the release of a high-profile Russian person detained in the United States. Despite Moscow’s tense relations with the US over Russia’s military participation in Ukraine, Russian authorities believe there are no grounds to deem Griner’s imprisonment unconstitutional and that the case against her is not political.

On Thursday, Moscow’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it was impossible to exchange inmates with the US and advised Washington to cease talking about Griner’s fate. Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury in the Women’s National Basketball Association, had previously played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League to supplement her income during the WNBA off-season, as did many other American players. Griner might appeal her sentence or seek pardon, according to the Russian foreign ministry.


Post Your Comments

Back to top button