(RT) American officials are not helping the fate of basketball star Brittney Griner and should refrain from attempts to apply political pressure on Moscow as Griner’s trial on drugs charges continues in Russia, according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The US State Department has officially classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” after the 31-year-old was arrested at a Moscow airport in mid-February when banned hashish vape oil cartridges were found in her luggage.
Griner has pleaded guilty and her trial continues on Tuesday at Khimki City Court just outside Moscow. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in jail.
Moscow has consistently rejected claims that Griner is being used as a “political pawn,”insisting that she must face Russian law and should not be granted exemptions because she is a foreigner.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova reiterated that position on Thursday, also taking aim at the recent US decision to add Russia to the list of countries where American citizens supposedly face the risk of being arbitrarily detained, which she described as a “political, illegitimate” decision.
“If drugs are legalized in the United States in a number of states, and this has been the case for a long time – I think now the whole country will become drug-addicted – it doesn’t mean that every other country is following the same path,” Zakharova said, addressing Griner’s case.
“If a US citizen was taken [in Russia] in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she doesn’t deny this, then this should be commensurate with Russian, local laws, and not those applied in San Francisco, New York, and Washington.”