Russian court docket schedules begin of Brittney Griner’s trial for Friday, her lawyer says

Griner — who has been held in Russia since her arrest at a Moscow airport on allegations of tried drug smuggling — attended the preliminary listening to in individual Monday, arriving at court docket handcuffed and flanked by guards in black vests, based on a photograph by AFP photographer Kirill Kudryavstev. She wore a grey T-shirt and glasses, the photograph exhibits.

Boykov beforehand advised CNN the listening to would happen behind closed doorways on the Khimki court docket, simply outdoors Moscow.

Griner, 31, a Phoenix Mercury participant who performs in Russia throughout the WNBA’s offseason, was arrested February 17. Russian authorities claimed she had hashish oil in her baggage and accused her of smuggling vital quantities of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by as much as 10 years in jail.

Griner’s detention, which has been repeatedly prolonged, has sparked a wave of assist amongst dozens of organizations within the US which have joined Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner’s spouse, in urging President Joe Biden to strike an alternate cope with Russian authorities to launch Griner and produce her house safely as quickly as doable.

Griner’s supporters have expressed concern that she may be used as a political pawn, given rising tensions amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Greater than 40 organizations — together with the Nationwide Affiliation for the Development of Coloured Folks, Human Rights Marketing campaign, GLAAD, the Nationwide City League and the Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation — signed a letter addressed to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Cherelle Griner one-on-one final Wednesday, based on a senior State Division official. She stated final week she hasn’t talked to her spouse since February 17.

“I’ve received no larger precedence than ensuring that Individuals who’re being illegally detained in a method or one other around the globe come house,” Sec. Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union” at the Group of 7 summit Sunday.

“That features Paul Whelan, that features Brittney Griner, that features individuals in numerous different nations,” he added. Whelan is a US citizen who was detained in Moscow in 2018 and arrested on espionage prices. He has denied the costs.

“I am unable to remark in any element on what we’re doing, besides to say that is an absolute precedence,” Blinken stated.

Griner was named an honorary WNBA All-Star Sport starter final week, with the All-Star Sport scheduled to happen on July 10 in Chicago.

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