Khimki, Russia – American basketball star drug use experience Britney Greiner In a Russian court Tuesday focused on testimony that cannabis, while illegal in Russia, is seen in other countries as legitimate medicinal use.
Greiner has admitted she was carrying e-cigarette packages containing cannabis oil when she was arrested in February at a Moscow airport, but maintains that she had no criminal intent and that the packages unintentionally ended up in her luggage due to hasty packing.
Defense attorney Alexander Boykov said after the hearing in which a Russian neuropsychologist testified about the global use of medicinal cannabis.
“The Russian public should know, and the Russian court in the first place should know that it was not used for recreational purposes in the United States. It was prescribed by a doctor,” he said.
Greiner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who plays for the NBA Phoenix MercuryHe faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The medical certificate and Greiner’s admission of her possession of the packages are intended to provide her with a reduced sentence.
Another attorney for Griner’s team, Maria Blagovolina, said.
About 90 minutes into Tuesday’s hearing, the case was adjourned until Wednesday afternoon.
The trial for the two-time Olympic gold medalist and lead at the Phoenix Mercury began on July 1, but only five sessions took place, some of which only lasted about an hour.
The slow trial and Greiner’s five-month detention drew intense criticism among her colleagues and supporters in the United States, which officially declared her “unjustly detained,” a designation strongly rejected by Russian officials.
Elizabeth Rudd, charge d’affaires of the US Embassy, attended Tuesday’s court hearing. “Grenier confirms that it is doing well and is predictable under these circumstances,” she told reporters.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” aired a short interview with the producer with Griner in which she wished her wife Cherelle “good luck on her bar exam.”
When asked if she had any complaints, she replied, “No, no complaints. Just wait patiently.” She showed pictures of her wife, friends and teammates.
Greiner was arrested in February amid heightened tensions between the United States and Moscow before Russia sent troops into Ukraine later that month. Some supporters claim she is being held in Russia as a pawn, possibly for a prisoner exchange. “She is clearly being held as a political prisoner,” Megan Rapinoe, the American football star, said last week.
Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the US claim that Grenier was being unjustly detained and said Russian laws should be respected.
“If a US citizen was taken away because she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny it, then this should be in line with our Russian domestic laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
“If drugs were legalized in the United States, in a number of states, and it was done for a long time and now the whole country is going to be addicted to drugs, it does not mean that all other countries are following the same path,” she added.
Russian media have speculated that Greiner could be exchanged for prominent Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, may have a role in the exchange.
US officials have not commented on the prospects for such trade. Russian officials said no exchange could be discussed until the end of legal proceedings against Grenier. It is unclear how long the trial will last, but the court allowed Greiner to be held until December 20.
Previous trial sessions have included witness testimony from the manager and captain of the Russian team Griner played in the off-season, along with written testimony including a doctor’s letter saying he allowed her to use cannabis to treat pain.