Character witnesses testify in support of WNBA’s Griner – The Denver Post

Written by Jim Heinz

KIMKI, Russia (Related Press) – NBA star Britney Grenier has not testified on the third day of a drug possession trial in Russia, however the supervisor of the Russian crew she performs with within the low season mentioned he informed the courtroom about her deserves.

Greiner was arrested in February at Sheremetyevo Airport within the Russian capital when customs officers mentioned they discovered hashish oil cans in her baggage. She has since been imprisoned, and faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted.

Final week, Greiner pleaded responsible. She admitted to the courtroom that she was in possession of the packages, however mentioned she had no felony intent and mentioned their presence in her baggage was resulting from speedy packing. She was anticipated to testify on Thursday in a courtroom within the Moscow suburb of Khimki, the place the airport is situated, however she didn’t.

Within the Russian judicial system, an request for forgiveness doesn’t robotically finish a trial.

Most journalists have been denied entry to Thursday’s courtroom listening to, however the director of UMMC Ekaterinburg, the place you play when the WNBA season will not be in season, mentioned he testified as a witness.

“Our activity immediately was to inform the courtroom about her qualities as an athlete and as an individual – inform how she performed an enormous function within the success of the Yekaterinburg membership and Russian girls’s basketball as an entire,” membership director Maxim Rybakov informed reporters. outdoors the courtroom

“As we speak is the primary day we now have seen our basketball participant since February. Thank God, she feels good, she seems good,” mentioned Rybakov.

The subsequent courtroom session is scheduled for Friday.

“I can say that Britney has all the time been an excellent teammate, so my function right here is simply to be along with her, to help her. We miss her a lot and miss her power. I used to be very completely satisfied to see her, and I hope That this experiment ends quickly and yields constructive outcomes.”

With the US authorities underneath stress at dwelling to do extra to safe her freedom, her responsible plea final week could also be an try to hurry up courtroom proceedings so any negotiations can transfer ahead. A senior Russian diplomat mentioned Moscow wouldn’t take any motion till the trial was over.

Greiner is likely one of the most outstanding feminine athletes in america, the Phoenix Mercury frontrunner and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken have mentioned they’re doing the whole lot they’ll to win the discharge of Greiner, in addition to different Individuals the US considers “wrongly held” by Russia, together with former Marine Paul Whelan.

Washington could have little leverage over Moscow, although, because of the intense hostility over its navy operation in Ukraine.

Russian media have speculated that Greiner could possibly be exchanged for Russian arms supplier Victor Bout, nicknamed “The Service provider of Dying”, who’s serving a 25-year jail sentence in america after being convicted of plotting to kill Americans and offering assist to a terrorist. organisation.

Russia has been agitating for Bout’s launch for years. However the nice contradiction within the seriousness of their circumstances could make such commerce unpalatable to Washington. Others recommended Griner could possibly be traded with Whelan, who’s serving 16 years in Russia on fees of espionage that america has described as a regime.

The State Division’s designation of Greiner as unjustly held strikes her case underneath the supervision of its Particular Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, successfully the federal government’s chief hostage negotiator. The classification infuriated Russia.

When requested about the opportunity of buying and selling Greiner for a Russian jail in america, Russian Deputy Overseas Minister Sergei Ryabkov, a senior Russian diplomat, famous that till her trial is over “there aren’t any formal or procedural causes to speak about any additional steps.”

Ryabkov warned that US criticism, together with describing Greiner as being unjustly detained and dismissive feedback concerning the Russian judicial system, “make it tough to have interaction in an in depth dialogue of any potential change.”

Greiner was approved to be held till December 20, indicating that the trial may final for months. Nevertheless, Griner’s attorneys mentioned they count on the matter to be concluded at first of August.