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U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner appears in Russian court on suspicion of drug smuggling

(CNN)Two US Olympic basketball gold medalistBritney Greenertried in court near Moscow Was called. He was charged with drug smuggling on Friday, which could be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

Greener, 31, Phoenix Mercury players playing in Russia during the WNBA's off-season on February 17 at Moscow Airport, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. Was arrested.

Greener supporters and U.S. officials fear she is being used as a political pawn amid heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S. as she is illegally detained. He said he sought her release as she grew older. In the

trial, Greener was accused by the prosecutor of smuggling less than a gram of hemp oil into her baggage.

"We are fully aware that drug movements are not permitted ... by February 17, 2022, from unspecified persons to unspecified locations under unspecified circumstances. At [Griner] purchased two cartridges for personal use, which included 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil, for a total of 0.702 grams, according to TASS reporters in the Himki City Court.

Prosecutors claim that Griner intended to import drugs into Russian territory and put banned substances in backpacks and suitcases, according to TASS. Cannabis oil is Russia. It is controlled by and classified as a drug.

The second hearing of the trial will take place on July 7.

The United States attending the hearing on Friday. Elizabeth Ludo, the temporary deputy ambassador for the embassy, ​​reiterated that Griner was "unjustly detained." She said, "The practice of tort is unacceptable wherever it happens and threatens the safety of everyone who travels, works and lives abroad."

She is in court. I talked to Greener. "She is doing as well as she can expect in these difficult situations, and she asked me to tell her that she was fine and maintaining her faith," Ruud said.

"The US government is working hard from the highest levels to bring Britney and all illegally detained Americans home," she added.

Repeatedly extended detention of Grinner among dozens of U.S. organizations that joined Grinner's wife Cherel by encouraging President Joe Biden to enter into an exchange agreement with Russian authorities. Caused a wave of support. Release Greener and take it home safely as soon as possible.

Although some say Greener could be released in prisoner exchange, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on the issue over the weekend.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters on Friday that the case was not a political motivation.

The Kremlin cannot comment on the process of the trial, but Peskov emphasized that Grinner was detained after carrying "illegal drugs, including drugs" punished by Russian law.

"Based on what I said, her arrest is not a political motivation," Peskoff added.

Greener was named the starter of the prestigious WNBA All-Star Game last week. The All-Star Game will be held in Chicago on July 10th. Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nigard told reporters before the match against Indiana Fever on Monday.

She said she hopes Grinner will return home soon and President Biden will "take steps to ensure she returns to her home."