Griner’s lawyers say WNBA star was prescribed medical cannabis | Basketball News

Legal professionals defending US basketball participant Brittney Griner, who’s dealing with as much as 10 years in jail on drug fees in Russia, have instructed a Russian court that Griner had permission from a health care provider to make use of medical hashish to deal with an damage.

In the course of the fourth listening to in Griner’s case on Friday, defence lawyer Maria Blagovolina mentioned {that a} US “attending doctor gave Brittney suggestions for the usage of medical hashish”.

“The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Division of Well being,” she instructed the courtroom simply outdoors Moscow the place the Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (WNBA) All-Star’s trial is going down.

Blagovolina additionally instructed the Reuters information company that Griner’s defence workforce offered written proof to the court docket on Friday, together with “a health care provider’s observe for the substance that Brittney Griner inadvertently left amongst her belongings when crossing the border”.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained on the airport within the Russian capital in February after vape canisters with hashish oil had been found in her baggage. She pleaded guilty final week to drug possession and smuggling, however mentioned she had no intention of committing a criminal offense.

Her detention, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the USA and Russia over the struggle in Ukraine, has prompted calls from Griner’s teammates and plenty of others for US President Joe Biden to secure her immediate release.

The administration has mentioned Griner is being “wrongfully detained” by the Russian authorities and that her case is a precedence.

“I’ll emphasise once more the dedication of the USA authorities on the very highest ranges to carry house safely Brittney Griner and all US residents wrongfully detained,” Elizabeth Rood, cost d’affaires on the US Embassy in Moscow, mentioned following Friday’s listening to.

An act of contrition doesn’t robotically finish a trial in Russia’s court docket system, and Griner has argued that she didn’t intend to interrupt the legislation and had unintentionally included the canisters in her baggage after packing shortly.

Griner, who performs for the Phoenix Mercury within the WNBA, was scheduled to play for Russian workforce UMMC Ekaterinburg within the US low season – a typical transfer for WNBA gamers who could make far extra money taking part in overseas.

The WNBA star has acquired help from Russian sport figures akin to UMMC Ekaterinburg membership boss Maxim Ryabkov, who appeared at a listening to on Thursday to reward Griner’s good character. Ryabkov instructed the court docket that Griner demonstrated “excellent skills as a participant and private contribution to strengthening workforce spirit”.

“We very a lot miss her, her vitality,” the captain of UMMC Ekaterinburg, Yevgenia Belyakova, additionally instructed reporters this week, including that she wished to “stand by [Griner] in these moments”.

Brittney Griner in Russian court
Griner is escorted earlier than a court docket listening to in Khimki outdoors Moscow, July 15, 2022 [Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters]

Within the US, teammates, family members and advocacy teams have called on the Biden administration to work for Griner’s launch.

On July 4, American independence day, the union for WNBA gamers tweeted that it was “powerful having fun with a day meant to have a good time independence when one in all our personal residents, Brittney Griner, is STILL wrongfully detained in Russia”.

Biden spoke with Griner’s spouse earlier this month and has said the US is pursuing “each avenue” to carry her house.

In the meantime, Russian officers have downplayed recommendations that Griner might be freed in a prisoner alternate with the US.

Deputy International Minister Sergei Ryabkov has famous that till her trial is completed “there are not any formal or procedural causes to speak about any additional steps.”

Ryabkov additionally warned that descriptions of Griner as being “wrongfully detained”, a designation issued by the US Division of State, make it “tough to have interaction in detailed dialogue of any potential exchanges”.

Sitting within the defendant’s steel cage throughout Friday’s listening to, Griner held up a printed {photograph} of fellow WNBA gamers carrying jerseys along with her quantity, 42, throughout a sport in Chicago earlier this month. She wore a Nirvana T-shirt and smiled as she held on to the steel bars.

The defence workforce mentioned in court docket that she had “continual pains” from sport accidents. It additionally offered paperwork to show her achievements in basketball and contribution to charities.

“She is drained,” one other one in all her legal professionals, Alexander Boykov, instructed reporters after the listening to.