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Griner Testifies That Russian-Provided Interpreter Gave Incomplete Translation

Brittney Griner (American basketball player) provided Wednesday’s details regarding her arrest.

Griner was detained in Moscow in February for having cannabis oil in her bag. She faces up to 10 year imprisonment.

Griner admitted to the charges at a July 7 court appearance. In her plea, Griner said “there was no intent,” and she “didn’t want to break the law.”

Griner indicated at that hearing that her preference was to provide official testimony later.

On Wednesday Griner was able to testify for the first and most important time, shedding light onto the circumstances surrounding her February 17 arrest.

According to the Associated Press, Griner “described making a grueling 13-hour flight to Moscow from Arizona while recovering from COVID-19,” and “said she still does not know how the cannabis oil for which she had a doctor’s recommendation ended up in her bag but explained she had packed in haste while under great stress.”

Most notably, Griner said “that a language interpreter provided during her questioning translated only a fraction of what was said and officials instructed her to sign documents without providing an explanation,” the Associated Press reported.

The AP has more: “Along with the interpreter provided an incomplete translation, Griner said she was offered neither an explanation of her rights nor access to lawyers and was instructed to sign documents without receiving an explanation of what they implied. Griner stated that after hours of unclear proceedings, Griner was finally allowed to turn over all her belongings to a lawyer and was then taken away in handcuffs. She said she received only a cursory translation of the allegations at her during a Feb. 19 hearing where a court sanctioned her arrest.”

Based on The New York Times, Griner testified “from an enclosed witness box.”

The Times, citing Griner’s lawyers, said that the “verdict is expected in August.”

Griner’s detention has become a symbol of the contentious relationship between the United States and Russia, with her arrest coming days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In May, the U.S. reclassified Griner as “wrongfully detained,” a move that signaled an intention to negotiate her release.

President Joe Biden has faced mounting pressure, both from lawmakers and Griner’s brethren in the athletic world, to secure her freedom.

Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators filed a resolution calling for Griner’s release.

Earlier this month, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, after the WNBA star sent the president a letter.

“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Brittney Griner wrote in the letter to Biden.

“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,” she continued. “Please do all you can to bring us home. In 2020, I voted my first time and voted in your favor. I trust in you. You can do so many things for me that I don’t know how to. My wife is missing me! I miss my family! My teammates are my family! It hurts to think of how much they’re suffering right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”