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The Kremlin denies that the basketball player Griner is “hostage” of the Russian Justice

Moscow, June 20. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov denied Monday that imprisoned American basketball player Brittney Griner is a hostage of the Russian judicial system.

“We can’t call him a hostage. Why should we call him a hostage? She broke Russian law. Now she is being prosecuted criminally,” Peskov said in an interview with MSNBC.

Peskov denied that Russia’s remand Griner is sending a “horrible message” to the world.

In the opinion of the presidential spokesman, what is a horrible message is “the attempt to introduce prohibited substances into the country.”

“She is being prosecuted under Russian law. It is not only in Russia that there are such severe laws in this field. There are many countries to which drugs cannot be brought. That is prosecuted by law. And we cannot do anything” , he added.

Recently, the Russian Justice extended another 18 days the precautionary measure against Griner, who has spent almost four months in a Moscow preventive detention.

The basketball player’s family has turned to US President Joe Biden to secure Griner’s release, while both the WNBA and NBA have also turned to demanding his release.

At the time, Russian media reported that Russia and the United States were negotiating the exchange of Griner for the Russian arms dealer Viktor But, known as the “merchant of death” and who is serving a sentence in a US prison.

Griner, a player for UGMK Yekaterinburg, was detained on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetvo airport after customs officials found cannabis oil in her bags.

Subsequently, the basketball player, who maintains her innocence, was arrested for drug smuggling, an arrest that Washington considers unjustified.

The American, who has been a member of the Russian team since 2015, can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, since in Russia it is prohibited by law to enter the country with cannabis.

The UGMK, trained by the Spanish Miguel Méndez, Spanish coach since 2021, has not made any public statement in this regard.

Like other American players, Griner took advantage of the months when there is no WNBA competition to play in Europe, where she has a salary of more than a million dollars, four times more than the maximum in the United States.

The former US ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson, negotiates the exchange of the 31-year-old player, double world and Olympic champion with his country.

Russia and the US recently exchanged US student Trevor Reed, sentenced to nine years in prison for resisting arrest, for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, sentenced in the US to 20 years for drug smuggling.

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