Russian officials claimed that they found e-liquid in the luggage of basketball player Brittney Griner. Since then, he has been in Russian custody. According to her lawyers, she was prescribed medical cannabis for severe chronic pain.
For several years, Griner has traveled to Russia to play basketball. The league salary cap prevents players from earning as much as their other pro-league counterparts in the U.S. The player was arrested while entering Russia.
Marijuana is illegal in Russia, which is why Griner pleaded guilty to having it. The charges can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Ahead of her trial, which will begin July 26, the defense is trying to get a lighter sentence for her. The team submitted a letter from the U.S. Medical cannabis was allowed to be used to treat chronic pain by the medical center. The medical test results from last year were submitted by the team, as well as a medical report from 2020 in which a doctor confirmed the severity of Griner’s chronic pain.
Griner’s attorney Alexander Boykov told reporters, “Yesterday was quite an emotional day for [Griner],” per CNN. “She saw her general manager, her friend and teammate Evgeniya Belyakova for the first time in many months,” Boykov continued. “And now she just wants to take a rest.”
During a court hearing today, Brittney Griner held a picture of WNBA players wearing her No. 42 jersey during the All-Star Game.
She has been detained in Russia for 148 days. pic.twitter.com/0JimGOyt5I
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 15, 2022
The government is supposed to take a more active role in facilitating her release after they classified her as being wrongly imprisoned. The federal government was asked to step up its efforts by the author of a letter that was delivered earlier this month.
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,” Griner wrote to Biden. “Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore.”
CNN reported that lawyers for the player submitted character support documents, including letters from the UMMC and the Russian Basketball Federation. Per the outlet, Elizabeth Rood, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, told media, “What became very clear is the tremendous amount of respect and admiration both in the United States and here in Russia where Ms. Griner has been playing basketball for seven years, not only for her professional achievements, but for her character and integrity.”