Brittney Griner, the WNBA All-Star detained in Russia since February on drug-related accusations, entered a guilty plea in a court in the Moscow region on Thursday.
Griner addressed the court in English and stated, “Your Honor, I would like to enter a plea of guilty.” “However, there was no purpose. I was reluctant to violate the law.
According to Russian legislation, Griner, who faces up to 10 years in jail in this instance, stated that she would be willing to provide more testimony at a later time.
She answered, “I need time to prepare.”
When Griner was discovered in February having 0.7 grams of cannabis oil in her luggage upon entering Russia, Russian authorities charged her with willfully breaching the law.
She was entering the nation like she has been doing for the previous few years, to play for a Russian team during the WNBA off-season.
The WNBA players union announced in a statement on Thursday that it supported Griner.
Terri Carmichael Jackson, president of the WNBPA, asserted that since Russia has a 99 percent conviction record, their legal system is independent. It is not as simple to use or comprehend as the legal system in the US.
Despite the legal procedure, the US State Department will continue negotiating for Brittney Griner’s release because it has been found that she was unjustly held for a reason.
Griner was detained just as Russia was preparing to attack Ukraine and tensions between the US and Russia were rising.
The US claims that Moscow is using Griner’s incarceration as a political ruse; the Kremlin has always refuted this claim.
The Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, a State Department unit entrusted with negotiating the release of Americans being held hostage and other individuals deemed to be unfairly jailed in foreign nations, was given Griner’s case by the White House in May.
Days after the athlete sent President Biden a handwritten letter pleading for his assistance in winning her freedom, Griner entered a guilty plea.
On July 14, Griner must return to a Russian court. Her Russian legal team predicted that her trial would be over by the beginning of August.