U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner goes on trial in Russia on Friday on drug charges that could see her face up to 10 years in prison, in a case caught up in the fraught relations between Moscow and Washington, APA reports citing Reuters.
Griner, a star in the U.S.-based Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Feb. 17, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, unleashing a broader confrontation with the West.
Russian authorities said the 31-year-old athlete was carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil, a substance illegal in the country. She was charged with smuggling a large quantity of drugs, an offence that can carry up to 10 years in prison.
U.S. officials and a score of athletes have called for the release of Griner - or "BG" as she is known to basketball fans. They say she has been wrongfully detained and should be immediately returned to her family in the United States.