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US basketball star Griner testifies at Russia drug trial

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KHIMKIAmerican basketball star Brittney Griner testified Wednesday at her drug trial in Russia that a language interpreter provided during her questioning translated only a fraction of what was said and officials instructed her to sign documents without providing an explanation.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February. She acknowledged in court earlier this month that she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil when she arrived in Russia but contends she had no criminal intent and the cartridges ended up in her luggage inadvertently.

During her testimony, the Phoenix Mercury standout described making a grueling 13-hour flight to Moscow from Arizona while recovering from COVID-19. Griner said she still does know how the cannabis oil for which she had a doctor’s recommendation ended up in her bag but explained she had packed in haste while under great stress.

She recalled how her luggage was checked upon her Feb. 17 arrival in Moscow and getting pulled aside after inspectors found the cartridges.

Along with the interpreter provided an incomplete translation, Griner said she was offered neither an explanation of her rights nor access to lawyers and was instructed to sign documents without receiving an explanation of what they implied.

After hours of proceedings she did not understand, she was allowed to hand over her personal belongings to a lawyer before being led away in handcuffs, Griner said. She said she received only a cursory translation of the allegations at her during a Feb. 19 hearing where a court sanctioned her arrest.

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of transporting drugs. Her trial started July 1. and the five previous court sessions so far were short, some lasting only about an hour.

It is unclear how long the trial will last, but a court has authorized Griner’s detention until Dec. 20. She went to Russia to play for a Russian team in the WNBA’s off-season.

It is unclear how long the trial will last, but a court has authorized Griner’s detention until Dec. 20. She went to Russia to play for a Russian team in the WNBA’s off-season.

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Sourabh Verma franklin
Sourabh Verma,From Franklin Tn - Sub-editor in Asian News International(ANI) I am a detailed-driven journalist with 3+ years of experience in news writing and copy-editing, I can file quick, compelling and error-free stories as they break. I have sound knowledge of national and international issues and have covered stories across beats, including politics, parliament, legal and crime like drugs and Human Trafficking at Asian News International (ANI), where I currently work. Some of these include extensive coverage of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, several state Assembly elections, Parliament sessions, COVID-19 pandemic and other stories of national importance. A typical working day involves copy-editing dozens of drafts, managing junior sub-editors in shifts and keeping an eye on developing stories. This added responsibility followed a couple of years of filing stories based on press briefings, bytes and inputs from reporters on the ground.
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