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WNBA star Brittney Griner begins trial in Russia
STORY: The trial began in Russia on Friday for an American basketball star accused of smuggling hash oil into the country. Brittney Griner has heard drug charges against her which could lead to 10 years in Russian prison. She was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia. The case takes place in a context of high tension between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine. US officials say Griner was wrongfully detained. Elizabeth Rood, a US diplomat based in Russia, said she was able to speak with Griner in the courtroom. to make it clear that she is in a good mood and keeping the faith. The Russian Federation wrongfully detained Miss Griner. Unjustified detention is unacceptable wherever it occurs, and it endangers the safety of all who travel, live, work and study abroad. I can assure you that the United States government, at the highest level, is working very hard to bring Miss Griner – and all wrongfully detained American citizens – back to safety.” Griner, who has performed regularly in Russia and the WNBA, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, allegedly with vape cartridges containing hash oil in his luggage.Griner told Reuters she finds the detention difficult because she does not speak Russian and that she was unable to follow her f witness. Her lawyers declined to say how she planned to plead. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that there was “no priority over high” than to bring back Griner and other “illegally detained” Americans overseas. The next hearing is set for July 7.
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