Brittney Griner detention: WNBA superstar heads to ‘sham trial,’ Russian court system under microscope

我们. officials fear the American basketball icon will be the subject of asham trial.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, 俄国, 星期一, 六月 27, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, 俄国, 星期一, 六月 27, 2022. (美联社照片/亚历山大·泽姆利亚尼琴科)

Griner appeared in court Monday for the second time since her detention began in February, 和 her trial date was announced for later this week.

代表. Colin Allred, 德州, issued a statement the following day condemning herwrongfuldetention and accusing Russian officials of creating the image of a fair trial.

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Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained for four months, and Russia is now engaging in theater by subjecting her to a sham trial in an effort to create a false pretense that she is anything other than a political prisoner,” Allred said in a press release.

Griner could face 取决于 10 如果被定罪,将入狱多年.

According to a report from the State Department — “俄国 2021 Human Rights Report—judges can be subject to the influence ofthe executive branch, the armed forces and other security forces” 在 “high-profile or politically sensitive cases.

That same report also found that the outcomes of some trialsappeared predetermined” 然后, 在 2020, 只要 0.34% of defendants were acquitted. Even if Griner is acquitted, the ruling could be overturned under Russian law.

Brittney Griner is escorted into a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, 俄国, 星期一, 六月 27, 2022.

Brittney Griner is escorted into a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, 俄国, 星期一, 六月 27, 2022. (美联社照片/亚历山大·泽姆利亚尼琴科)

Trials by jury showed higher acquittal rates (23% 在 2019). 然而, these instances are rare and acquittals by jurywere sometimes overturned by judges in appellate courts.Under Russian law, narcotics smuggling cases were subject to a trial by jury, although it was not immediately known if this would be the case for Griner.

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William Pomeranz, acting director of the Kennan Institute and an expert on Russian law, told The New York Times this week that the expectation in going to trial is that the defendant will more than likely be found guilty.

There’s a bias mainly because the Russian judicial system says they really should not go to trial unless the defendant is going to be convicted,” Pomeranz explained. “There’s no real idea or expectation that the defendant could be innocent. There’s no presumption of innocence, 真。”

Thomas Firestone, a former resident legal adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, echoed that sentiment on the eve of Griner’s trial.

A close-up of Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury at practice and media availability during the 2021 WNBA Finals Oct. 11, 2021, at Footprint Center in Phoenix.

A close-up of Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury at practice and media availability during the 2021 WNBA Finals Oct. 11, 2021, at Footprint Center in Phoenix. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

It’s not usually a question of what the verdict will be,” he told The Washington Post, “It’s more a question of what the sentence will be.

Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport Feb. 17 after she was accused of bringing vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through security. Her arrest came a week before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, but news of her detention did not spread until March.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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