Russia: Griner appears in court on cannabis charge

Source: South China Morning Post [Hong Kong]

“Brittney Griner was back in court on Tuesday for her trial for cannabis possession amid US diplomatic efforts to secure her release. If convicted, the WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medallist could face 10 years in prison. … Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, urging him to accept a deal under which Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction, would go free. … People familiar with the proposal say it envisions trading Griner and Whelan for the notorious arms trader Viktor Bout. … While judges have leeway to consider mitigating factors under Russian law, acquittals are rare and account for less than 1 per cent of cases in Russian criminal prosecutions. A conviction, however, could potentially pave the way for Griner’s exchange as Russian officials said it could only happen after the judicial process is completed.” (08/02/22)