“I didn’t have an idea to inject banned substances”

American women’s basketball star Britney Griner said at a trial outside Moscow on Wednesday that she mistakenly smuggled medicinal marijuana into Russia and never intended to smuggle the drug.

American women’s basketball star Brittney Griner is behind bars

Foundation stone

“I didn’t have an idea and I didn’t plan to bring banned substances into Russia,” she told a court in Khimki near Moscow, where she has been on trial since early July, an AFP journalist told the scene.

At the age of 31, this 2.06-meter tall player, considered one of the best in the world, played in the off-season for a club from Yekaterinburg, in the Urals. She appeared in court after being arrested at a Moscow airport in February for possession of a cannabis-based e-liquid that she said was prescribed for her by a doctor.

Up to 10 years in prison

This lawsuit has geopolitical overtones as tensions between Moscow and Washington have reached their peak over the conflict in Ukraine. Many observers suspect Russia of using this case for a future prisoner exchange with the United States.

The two-time Olympian soccer player explained to the court on Wednesday that she legally used medicinal marijuana in the United States on prescription and on weekends to ease the multiple physical “pains” associated with her intense basketball game.

She assured that she did not specifically take him with her before leaving for Russia.

“I still don’t understand how it ended up in my bag. I had no intention of violating Russian law (…) If I had to think about how it ended up in my bag, I would say that it was because I was in a hurry with my business, ”she said.

Britney Griner also claimed that she did not follow the recommendations of the American authorities not to travel to Russia at this time, because she did not want to “let down” her team in Russia.


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