Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who remains detained in Russia since February on drug smuggling charges, insists that she had no intent to break Russian law or indeed bring anything On Wednesday, WNBA star Brittney Griner explained her situation when she was arrested in February.
Brittney Griner: I don’t understand how cannabis oil ended up in my bags
B rittney Griner, the WNBA star who remains detained in Russia since February on drug smuggling charges, insists that she had no intent to break Russian law or indeed bring anything into the country.
The basketball player’s legal team are hoping for leniency from the Russian legal system, arguing that Griner was still recovering from COVID-19 and “stress packing” ahead of going to Russia.
Griner herself says she did not expect to see the cannabis oil found in her luggage and had not intended to pack it, saying it ended up in there by accident.
“I still don’t understand to this day how they ended up in my bags,” Griner said at a hearing in Khimki.
“I didn’t have any intent to use or keep in my possession any substance that is prohibited in Russia.
“With them being accidentally in my bags, I take responsibility, but I did not intend to smuggle or plan to smuggle anything into Russia.”
As part of her defence, Griner and her legal team are also focussing on how much she enjoys going to Russia and how she considers it her second home.
She also claims she had been advised against travelling to Russia in the US, but she wanted to uphold her commitment to her team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, who she has represented during the WNBA off-season since 2014.
Brittney Griner Testifies How Cannabis Oil Ended Up In Her Bag
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – OCTOBER 13: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates with fans following Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center on October 13, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mercury defeated the Sky 91-86 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
WNBA star Brittney Griner testified on Wednesday that her rights were never read and a language interpreter didn’t properly explain to her what documents she was signing before she was arrested in February.
Griner, who was arrested at an airport near Moscow, has already acknowledged that she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. However, she said there was no criminal intent involved.
When Griner was pulled aside at the airport, she claims an interpreter provided an “incomplete translation.” Additionally, she was apparently instructed to sign documents without an explanation.
Griner eventually handed over her belongings to a lawyer before being taken away in handcuffs. She said she received just a cursory translation of the allegations at her hearing on Feb. 19.
Earlier this week, Griner’s defense team argued that the cannabis oil she used in February was prescribed by a doctor to treat pain.
“We are not arguing that Brittney took it here as a medicine. We are still saying that she involuntarily brought it here because she was in a rush,” defense attorney Alexander Boykov said. “The Russian public has to know, and the Russian court in the first place has to know, that it was not used for recreational purposes in the United States. It was prescribed by a doctor.”
If Griner is convicted of transporting drugs, she could face up to 10 years in prison.