American basketball player Brittney Griner remains in a Russian prison as her trial continues in the Moscow suburb of Khimki.
The 31-year-old pivot did not testify on Thursday, but her teammate and the director of the Russian club UMMC Yekaterinburg, where she worked, expressed support in their testimonies. The two-time Olympic champion pleaded guilty to possession and smuggling of drugs, if found guilty she faces up to 10 years in prison.
“Our job today was to tell the court about her character as an athlete and as a person, what important role she played in the success of our club and Russian women’s basketball. Today we were able to see her for the first time since February. Thank God she feels well and seems to be going well,” said Maxim Rybakov, a senior representative of the Yekaterinburg basketball club.
“Brittney has always been a really good team-mate so it’s my job to be here with her and support her. We miss her very much, we miss her energy. I’m happy to see her. Hope the trial goes soon ends with a favorable outcome.” said Griner’s teammate Yevgenija Beľakovová.
Grinerová has been in a Russian prison since February 17, when she was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetevo airport for finding banned hemp oil in her luggage as a filling for electronic cigarettes after arriving in the country.
The court hearing continues on Friday. The star basketball player’s chances are diminished by statistics according to which Russian courts acquit only one percent of the accused. Moreover, unlike the US, acquittals in Russia can be reversed.