WNBA’s Griner says poor translation clouded arrest in Russia

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) — American basketball star Brittney Griner testified Wednesday at her drug trial in Russia {that a} language interpreter translated solely a fraction of what was mentioned throughout her questioning and officers instructed her to signal paperwork with out offering a proof.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. She acknowledged in courtroom earlier this month that she had vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her baggage when she arrived in Russia however contends she had no felony intent and packed the cartridges inadvertently.

During her testimony, the Phoenix Mercury standout described making a grueling 13-hour flight to Moscow from Arizona whereas recovering from COVID-19. Griner mentioned she nonetheless doesn’t know the way the hashish oil ended up in her bag however defined that she had a health care provider’s suggestion for it and had packed it in haste.

She recalled getting pulled apart on the airport on Feb. 17 after inspectors discovered the cartridges.

Along with the interpreter who supplied an incomplete translation, Griner mentioned she acquired neither a proof of her rights nor entry to a lawyer and was instructed to signal paperwork with out a proof of what they implied.

After hours of proceedings she didn’t perceive, she was allowed handy over her private belongings to a lawyer earlier than being led away in handcuffs, Griner mentioned. She mentioned she acquired solely a cursory translation of the allegations throughout a Feb. 19 listening to the place a courtroom sanctioned her arrest.

Griner faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted of transporting medication. Her trial started on July 1, and Wednesday was her first look as a witness. The courtroom outdoors Moscow held 5 earlier classes that had been quick, some lasting solely about an hour.

It is unclear how lengthy the trial will final, however a courtroom has licensed Griner’s detention till Dec. 20. She went to Russia to play for a Russian workforce in the WNBA’s low season.

During Tuesday’s courtroom session of about 90 minutes, a Russian neuropsychologist testified in regards to the worldwide use of medicinal hashish, which stays unlawful in Russia. Griner’s protection workforce has submitted a US physician’s letter recommending the basketball participant to make use of medical hashish to deal with ache.

Griner testified Wednesday that she was affected by ache from accidents sustained throughout her basketball profession. She emphasised that hashish oil is broadly used in the United States for medicinal functions and has much less adverse results than another painkillers.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson mentioned final week that the legalization of hashish for medical and leisure use in elements of the US had no bearing on what occurs in Russia.

The slow-moving trial and Griner’s 5 months of detention have raised robust criticism amongst teammates and supporters in the United States, which has formally declared her to be “wrongfully detained,” a designation sharply rejected by Russian officers.

Griner was arrested in February amid excessive US-Moscow tensions forward of Russia sending troops into Ukraine later that month. Some supporters contend that she is being held in Russia as a pawn, probably for a prisoner swap. American soccer notable Megan Rapinoe mentioned final week “she’s being held as a political prisoner, clearly.”

Russian media have speculated that Griner may very well be exchanged for distinguished Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who’s imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, may determine in an change.

US officers haven’t commented on the prospects for such a commerce. Russian officers have mentioned no change may very well be mentioned till the conclusion of the authorized proceedings towards Griner.

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