Imprisoned American basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to possessing drugs during a trial in Moscow, but said he did not intend to commit the crime.
A Greener representative confirmed to the Associated Press that the athlete had been found guilty of possession of drugs.
According to Russian news reports, Grinner, through a court interpreter, heard that he acted unintentionally because he was packing in a hurry.
Greener was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow in February after an arc canister containing hemp oil was found in his luggage. If she is convicted of a large transport of drugs, she will face up to 10 years in prison.
Elizabeth Ludo, Deputy Chief of Mission to the US Embassy in Moscow, told reporters after talking to Grinner in court and hearing a letter from US President Joe Biden.
“She eats a lot, can read books, and in that situation she does a lot,” Ms. Ludo said of Grinner.
“I reiterate the highest level of US Government commitment to safely return home with Ms. Greener and all US citizens in illegal detention, and the commitment to protect and protect the interests of the US Embassy in Moscow. All US citizens have been detained or imprisoned in Russia, “she added.
The Phoenix Mercury star and two Olympic gold medalist trials began last week with growing calls for Washington to do more to secure its freedom, about five months after its arrest. ..
Prior to the hearing on Thursday, Russian police escorted Greener in a bright red T-shirt and sports trousers, handcuffed to court, past a crowd of journalists.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned Thursday that “the US side is trying to make a public noise … it doesn’t help in a practical solution to the problem.”
The White House said Mr Biden called Grinner’s wife on Wednesday to ensure she was doing everything she could to get the athlete’s release as soon as possible.
They spoke after the US President read a letter from Greener and said she was afraid to never go home.
Washington has not disclosed its strategy in this case, and the United States may have little to do with Moscow due to the strong hostility of Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
The State Department has designated Greener as illegally detained and has moved her case under the supervision of a special presidential envoy on hostage issues, effectively the government’s head of hostage negotiations.
Asked about the possibility of Grinner being exchanged for a Russian imprisoned in the United States, Ryabkov, a senior Russian diplomat, said until the end of her trial, “there are formal or procedural reasons to talk about further steps. No, “he said.
U.S. criticisms, including an explanation that Grinner was unfairly detained and negatively commented on Russia’s judicial system, “makes it difficult to engage in a detailed discussion of possible exchanges,” he said. Warned.
“The U.S. government has described those sentenced to imprisonment for serious criminal articles, and those awaiting the end of the investigation and court ruling, as” unfairly detained, “as Washington describes the outside world. It reflects the refusal of his calm view. Ryabkov added.
Greener’s trial was postponed after it began last week because two scheduled witnesses did not appear. Such delays are common in Russian courts, and her detention has been granted until 20 December, suggesting that the proceedings may last for several months.
Russian news media have repeatedly speculated that Grinner could be exchanged for the Russian weapons merchant Victor Bout, who is known as the “merchant of death.” Terrorist organization.
Russia has instigated the release of Bout for many years. However, a major discrepancy between Grinner’s alleged crime and the global trade in Bout’s deadly weapons could make such an exchange unpalatable to Washington.
Others could be traded with former Maritime and Security Director Paul Whelan, who has been sentenced to 16 years in Russia, on a spy conviction that the United States has repeatedly described as a setup. Suggested that there is sex.