September 28, 2022

Britney Graner’s wife says she won’t be calm anymore

More than four months after her arrest in Moscow, American women’s basketball star Britney Grenier appeared in a Russian court on Friday in what was expected to be the start of her trial on drug charges.

The 31-year-old athlete was seen arriving at the Khimki City Court outside Moscow handcuffed shortly after noon local time, in the presence of US embassy staff.

Then she heard the charges against her, including intentionally transporting drugs. Reports said Grenier, who faces up to 10 years in prison in Russia, accepted the charges and did not file a petition.

A hub for Phoenix Mercury, Griner played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia during the off-season WNBA, and was arrested on her way home when Russian airport officials said they found vape cartridges with traces of cannabis oil — a crime in the country.

Reports say lawyers for Greiner – whose wife has pleaded with US President Joe Biden to meet her and secure the release of the WNBA star – believe the trial will last two months. Procedures will resume on Thursday 7 July.

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What could the deal to free Britney Grenier from Russia look like?

Supporters of Britney Grenier have encouraged US authorities to negotiate a prisoner exchange deal like the one in April that brought home Marine veteran Trevor Reid in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of drug trafficking.

Russian media have repeatedly raised speculation that she could be exchanged for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed “Dealer of Death”, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for conspiring to murder American citizens and providing assistance to a terrorist organization.

Russia has been agitating for Bout’s release for years. But the broad contrast between the Griner case — which involves alleged possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil — and Bout’s global dealings in lethal weapons could make such a trade-off unpalatable to the United States.

Others suggested it could be traded alongside Paul Whelan, a former Navy and Security Director who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage that the US has repeatedly called a regime.

When US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was asked Sunday on CNN if a joint exchange between Greener and Whelan for Bot was being considered, he avoided the question.

“As a general suggestion … I have no higher priority than making sure Americans who are being held unlawfully in some way around the world go home,” he said. But he said he could not comment “in any detail on what we’re doing, except to say this is an absolute priority.”

Oliver O’ConnellJuly 6, 2022 08:00

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Britney Greiner has been named an honorary starter for the WNBA All-Star

Britney Greiner will earn a spot on the WNBA All-Star Game, having been chosen as an honorary starter by Commissioner Kathy Engelbert.

Greiner has been held in Russia since February 17 after authorities at an airport outside Moscow said she had cigarette cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bag.

“During every season of Britney’s career where there was an All-Star Game, she was selected as an All-Star,” Engelbert said. “It is not hard to imagine that if BG were with us this season, she would be selected again and would undoubtedly showcase her incredible talents. Therefore, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today as we continue to work on her safe return to the United States.”

Oliver O’ConnellJuly 6, 2022 06:00

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Britney Grenier’s sister urges Russia to disregard and liberate politics

The family of Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Britney Greiner has asked President Joe Biden to do “whatever is necessary” to release her from detention in Russia.

The two-time Olympic medalist was detained in Russia in February over allegations she was bringing marijuana through an airport in the Moscow region. The Phoenix Mercury player competed in the European leagues during the WNBA offseason, which was the reason she traveled to Russia.

“My sister has been unjustly detained in Russia for more than 100 days now,” the player’s sister, Shakira Greiner, said in a touching video.

“For many of you, Britney is affectionately known as BG, the WNBA star, the gold medalist. To us, she’s a daughter, she’s a sister, she’s an aunt, she’s a cousin, she’s her niece, and she’s a wife.”

Details with Alisha Rahman Sarkar.

Oliver O’ConnellJuly 6 2022 04:00

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Colleagues in the US say Britney Greiner is “just playing” in Russia because of the gender pay gap

Basketball star Brittney Greiner – who appeared in court in Moscow this week – has only been playing in Russia because of the low wages paid to female athletes in the US, which her friends and colleagues say makes it difficult to make a living.

Greiner, 31, who appeared in handcuffs in a court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, was charged with drug smuggling after she was arrested at an airport for allegedly carrying cannabis oil in her luggage. She faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

Her supporters say she is the victim of a wrongful arrest and have called on President Joe Biden and others to press for her release. She was arrested one week before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Her wife, Cheryl Greiner, told CNN she was struggling to maintain her composure, while urging US authorities to do more.

Andrew Buncombe has more.

Oliver O’ConnellJuly 6, 2022 02:00

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Britney Greiner: Anger grows as Russia continues to carry WNBA star

Anger is growing on social media as Russian authorities continue to arrest WNBA star Britney Greiner.

Officials of the Russian Federal Customs Service announce They arrested the “two-time Olympic basketball champion on the US team” sometime in February, claiming they found cannabis oil-filled cartridges in her bag.

“What a nightmare scenario. I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling [right now]” The New York Times Columnist Roxanne Jay chirp.

Oliver O’ConnellJuly 6, 2022 00:00

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What did Russia say about Britney Greiner?

Russia has defended the arrest of American women’s basketball star Britney Grenier, rejecting the Biden administration’s allegations that her detention in the country is “unlawful.”

Russian authorities said in a statement that 31-year-old Ms Greiner was arrested by Moscow police in February on the basis of “objective facts and evidence”.

The statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry: “She was caught red-handed while trying to smuggle cannabis oil” CNN, He said. In Russia, this is a crime.

Oliver O’Connell5 July 2022 22:00

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White House insists Britney Greiner is a ‘priority’

White House press secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the issue of WNBA star and U.S. Olympic player Britney Grenier continuing to be detained in Russia is a “priority” for President Joe Biden and his administration after a letter from the basketball player to Biden was made public. From the family of Mrs. Greiner.

“This is a priority issue for this president,” said Ms. Jean-Pierre, noting that the United States had designated Ms Greiner as “unjustly detained” by the Russian government.

Oliver O’Connell5 July 2022 21:30

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on any details of the Grenier case

State Department spokesman Ned Price says the US is not in a position to publicly comment “in any detail” on Britney Greiner’s arrest in Russia: “We don’t want to say anything that would jeopardize the chances of an American release.”

Oliver O’Connell5 July 2022 21:10

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When asked about criticism the administration has faced in relation to its response to Ms Greiner’s position, Ms Jean-Pierre replied that she would do the same work she did when Trevor Reade was released.

Oliver O’Connell5 July 2022 20:57

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Biden has read the letter, and the US will use “every tool” to get Grenier out of Russia

White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre says President Joe Biden has read Britney Greiner’s handwritten letter.

The president read the letter. I was there when he read the letter.”

She adds that Ms. Greiner is “unjustly detained”, and “this is a priority issue for this president”.

Ms Jean-Pierre says the government will use “every tool” to try to get her out of detention in Russia.

Oliver O’Connell5 July 2022 20:40

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