Brittney Griner: Russian court plans to start the trial on Friday, her lawyer said

Griner – who has been held in Russia since his arrest at a Moscow airport over allegations of drug trafficking – attended the preliminary hearing in person on Monday, handcuffing the court and flanked by guards in black vests, according to a AFP image. photographer Kirill Kudryavstev. She was wearing a gray T-shirt and glasses, the photo shows.

Boykov previously told CNN that the hearing would take place behind closed doors at the Khimki court, just outside Moscow.

Griner, 31, a Phoenix Mercury player who plays in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested on February 17. Russian authorities claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Griner’s detention, which has been repeatedly extended, has sparked a wave of support among dozens of organizations in the United States that have joined Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner’s wife, in urging President Joe Biden to enter into an exchange agreement with Russian authorities to Release Laughing and bring her home safely as soon as possible.

Griner’s supporters have expressed concern that she could be used as a political piece, given growing tensions in the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
READ: Dozens of Organizations Sign Letter Asking President Biden to Agree on Brittney Griner’s Release

More than 40 organizations – including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the National Urban League and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association – signed a letter addressed to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Cherelle Griner one-on-one last Wednesday, according to a senior State Department official. She said last week that she has not spoken to his wife since February 17.

“I have no higher priority than making sure that Americans who are arrested illegally in some way around the world come home,” Sec. Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union” at the group summit on Sunday 7.

“That includes Paul Whelan, who includes Brittney Griner, who includes people in a number of other countries,” he added. Whelan is a US citizen who was arrested in Moscow in 2018 and arrested on espionage charges. He has denied the allegations.

“I can not comment in detail on what we do, except to say that this is an absolute priority,” Blinken said.

The US embassy in Moscow will send a US diplomat to Brittney Griner’s hearing on Friday, a US official told CNN.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated that Grineren had been “wrongfully arrested” and said that support for her and her family would continue. “The US government will continue to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner and her family. We will continue to press for her release.”

Griner was named an honorary WNBA All-Star Game starter last week, with the All-Star Game scheduled to take place on July 10 in Chicago.

CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.