A US basketball star who faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison on drug charges was prescribed medical cannabis for a chronic injury, her lawyers said.

Brittney Griner, 31, was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 after police said they found vaporizer containers containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

On Friday, lawyers defending the two-time Olympic gold winner told the court that Phoenix player Mercury was prescribed medical cannabis in the United States for a chronic injury in 2020.

His defense team filed documents in support of his case that he did not intend to bring drugs to Russia illegally in hopes of getting a more lenient sentence.

In them, they said that Griner was suffering from chronic pain and that he had a permit issued in the state of Arizona for the use of medical cannabis.

The star was escorted to a court hearing wearing a yellow Nirvana T-shirt in the Moscow suburb of Khimki.

It already has pleaded guilty to drug charges which could lead to a prison sentence of up to a decade.

Thursday, a director of a Russian basketball club provided evidence in support of Grinerspeaking of his “exceptional ability” and “personal contribution to strengthening team spirit”.

Team captain Evgeniya Belyakova also testified in his defense.

Read more:
Who is Brittney Griner?

No ‘intent’ to commit a crime

Earlier in the trial, Griner told the court that he has “no intention” of breaking the law, which the lawyers hope means he will receive the most lenient sentence possible.

Less than 1% of the defendants in Russian criminal proceedings are acquitted and acquittals can be overturned.

Griner’s case comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington The Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The The United States classified her as “an illegal inmate”with figures including President Joe Biden calling for his release, while Griner’s wife, Cherelle, claimed to be used as “a political pawn”.

After Griner’s detention, a senior Russian diplomat said no action could be taken until the trial was over.

The Kremlin has downplayed the idea of ​​a prisoner swap, saying it is premature to discuss the possibility of swapping Griner with a Russian imprisoned in the United States.

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