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MOSCOW (AP) — In shackles and looking out cautious, WNBA star Brittney Griner was ordered to face trial Friday by a court docket close to Moscow on hashish possession costs, some 4 1/2 months after her arrest at a airport when he returned to play for a Russian staff. .

The Phoenix Mercury heart and two-time US Olympic gold medalist was additionally ordered to stay in custody in the course of her legal trial. Griner might face 10 years in jail if he’s convicted of large-scale drug transportation costs. Lower than 1% of defendants in Russian legal circumstances are acquitted, and in contrast to within the US, acquittals will be put aside.

At Monday’s closed-door preliminary listening to on the court docket within the Moscow suburb of Khimki, Griner’s detention was prolonged for an additional six months. Photographs obtained by The Related Press confirmed the 31-year-old handcuffed and dealing with straight forward of her, not like a earlier court docket look during which she stored her head down and lined with a hood.

His arrest and trial come at an awfully low time in Moscow-Washington relations. She was arrested at Sheremetyevo airport lower than per week earlier than Russia despatched troops to Ukraine, including to tensions already excessive with sweeping US sanctions and Russia’s publicity of US arms provides to Ukraine.

Amid the tensions, Griner’s supporters had lain low within the hope of a quiet decision, till Might, when the State Division reclassified her as wrongfully detained. and transferred oversight of his case to his particular presidential envoy for hostage affairs, successfully the US authorities’s chief negotiator.

Griner’s spouse, Cherelle, urged President Joe Biden in Might to safe her launch, calling her a “political pawn.”

His supporters have inspired a prisoner swap just like the one in April that introduced dwelling Navy veteran Trevor Reed for a Russian pilot convicted of drug conspiracy.

The Russian media has repeatedly speculated that she may very well be traded for Russian arms seller Viktor Bout, nicknamed “The Service provider of Dying,” who’s serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to kill Americans and offering assist to a terrorist group. terrorist. .

Russia has campaigned for Bout’s launch for years. However the discrepancy between Griner’s case (she was allegedly discovered to be in possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil) and Bout’s international offers in lethal weapons might make that change disagreeable for the US.

Others have recommended that she may very well be traded together with Paul Whelan.a former Navy and safety director serving a 16-year sentence for an espionage conviction that the USA has repeatedly described as a setup.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, when requested Sunday on CNN if a joint commerce of Griner and Whelan for Bout was into consideration, sidestepped the query.

“As a normal proposition … I’ve no greater precedence than ensuring that Individuals who’re unlawfully detained in a method or one other all over the world come dwelling,” he stated. However “I can’t remark intimately on what we’re doing, besides to say that it’s a high precedence.”

Apparently, any change would require Griner to first be convicted and sentenced, after which apply for a presidential pardon, Maria Yarmush, a lawyer specializing in worldwide civil affairs, informed the Kremlin-funded RT tv channel.

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