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Frightened WNBA Star Brittney Griner Is Led Into Russian Courtroom In Cuffs


Frightened WNBA Star Brittney Griner Is Led Into Russian Courtroom In Cuffs

“Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?”

WNBA star Brittney Griner has spent the past four months in Russia trying to break free after her arrest at the Moscow airport. The 31-year-old was caught with handcuffs on her in the latest pictures as she attended her preliminary hearing for her trial.

She had allegedly carried cartridges of cannabis oil for her vape and has since been in detention.

The Phoenix Mercury player might face up to 10 years of prison if convicted.

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Her detention is extended for six more months for her trial, with the preliminary meant to define the procedural issues.

Griner’s handcuffed hands were clearly seen, and she kept her head up, unlike her previous captured appearance, with her head hung low and covered with a hood.

After she was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, fans initially kept their support low-profile to ease the process.

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But three months later, the State Department announced that she was wrongfully detained, prompting many to anger at the justice system in Russia.


Griner was arrested just a week before they launched an attack on Ukraine. With the change of her arrest status, the US government’s chief negotiator has classified her case as “special presidential envoy for hostages.”

She could face up to 10 years of prison time which is if she’s convicted for large-scale transportation of drugs. Russian news media suggested, however, that she can be exchanged for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms trader nicknamed ‘The Merchant of Death.’

The criminal is serving a 25-year sentence and is convicted of providing aid to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to kill US citizens.


The swap appeared unfair, but many suggested that it would be fair if Paul Whelan, a former Marine convicted of espionage for 16 years, was added to the equation. His arrest has been repeatedly described as a set-up. But the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken refuses to directly comment on the issue.

“I can’t comment in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority.”


Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Griner’s detention was related to the political tension.


Peskov spoke with NBC News about how “hundreds and hundreds of Russian citizens that were sentenced for carrying hashish. Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?”

In response to being told that Griner’s case is a “hostage situation” for the US government, Peskov said, “She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted. It’s not about being a hostage. There are lots of American citizens here. They’re enjoying their freedoms … but you have to obey the laws.”

He further commented that two Americans, Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, captured in Ukraine for fighting against the Kremlin invasion, “endangered” Russian soldiers and must be “held accountable for those crimes.”


He didn’t describe the specifics but said the men did not have the protection of Geneva conventions on prisoners of war because they weren’t Ukrainians.

The two-time Olympic winner and “most gifted” female athlete of the US was drawn to the Russian league for the salaries.

Biden’s administration mentioned that “logistical error” had prevented Griner and her wife from connecting on their fourth anniversary. But it has since been rescheduled. Cherelle Griner, however, revealed that she’d only learned that her wife had attempted the call 11 times to a number that was never staffed on Saturday.

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