Home US SportsWNBA Brittney Griner Drug Arrest in Russia Raises Diplomatic and Legal Questions

Brittney Griner Drug Arrest in Russia Raises Diplomatic and Legal Questions


Because the U.S. State Division on Saturday bluntly warned U.S. residents to “depart Russia immediately,” Russian media reported that WNBA star Brittney Griner is in custody for an alleged drug offense.

Griner, 31, is accused of trying to move cannabis oil in vape cartridges at Sheremetyevo airport close to Moscow. The Phoenix Mercury middle and two-time U.S. Gold medalist, who additionally performs for the Russian group UMMC Ekaterinburg through the WNBA offseason, may reportedly withstand 10 years in jail if convicted.

Extra from Sportico.com

Penn State Dickinson Legislation Professor William Butler, an skilled on Russian regulation, worldwide and comparative regulation, tells Sportico that “Russia has a zero tolerance of narcotics.” He stresses that the Russian Federal Customs Service’s assertion, which has been translated as a “large-scale transportation of drugs,” is essential. “This means,” Butler explains, “that she allegedly had enough with her to constitute a substantial amount. That does make the potential penalty more severe.”

The timing of the airport incident is unclear. The Russian authorities has launched an undated video that seems to indicate Griner going via airport safety with baggage. Based on Meadowlark Media journalist Kate Fagan, Griner has been in custody for about three weeks. Russia’s invasion into Ukraine started on Feb. 24. For the reason that invasion started, flights departing Russia have been restricted due partly to worldwide restrictions.

If Griner is being detained for political causes—or maybe as a bargaining chip for a prisoner change—she would symbolize a probable goal for Russian president Vladimir Putin and his authorities. Along with being a high-profile American, Griner is brazenly homosexual, which provides her a disfavored status below Russian regulation.

Butler cautions that Griner’s detainment and the Russia-Ukraine battle shouldn’t be robotically linked. He notes that Russia’s “general attitude towards narcotics” entails aggressive enforcement of medication regulation, and that has been obvious lengthy earlier than the battle started. Provided that Griner has performed in Russia since 2014, she was presumably conscious of that circumstance, too.

The New York Instances reports that Griner is the one WNBA participant remaining in Russia. Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, has told ESPN that Griner has authorized illustration in Russia and the agent is in shut contact along with her household in addition to league officers.

Underneath the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Consular Conference, Russia is obligated to permit representatives from the U.S. embassy to go to a detained American citizen. The go to is meant to happen inside 4 days. The U.S. State Division has complained in earlier detainment conditions that Russian authorities haven’t at all times adhered to the four-day requirement. In the meantime, different high-profile People detained in Russia have typically struggled to speak with the embassy. Paul Whelan, for instance, has been denied entry and is now serving a 16-year sentence at a most safety jail in Russia for alleged espionage.

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