First photos of WNBA’s Brittney Griner appearing in a Russian court

First photos of WNBA’s Brittney Griner appearing in a Russian court

Shackled and looking wary, WNBA star Brittney Griner was ordered to stand trial Friday by a court near Moscow on cannabis possession charges, about 4½ months after her arrest at an airport while returning to play for a Russian team.

The Phoenix Mercury center and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist also was ordered to remain in custody for the duration of her criminal trial. Griner could face 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of large-scale transportation of drugs. Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in the U.S., acquittals can be overturned.

At Monday’s closed-door preliminary hearing at the court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, Griner’s detention was extended for another six months. Photos obtained by the Associated Press showed the 31-year-old in handcuffs and looking straight ahead, unlike a previous court appearance where she kept her head down and covered with a hood.

Her detention and trial come at an extraordinarily low point in Moscow-Washington relations. She was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport less than a week before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, which aggravated already-high tensions with sweeping sanctions by the United States and Russia’s denunciation of U.S. weapon supplies to Ukraine.

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WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner in shackles at a court appearance.

(Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP )

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner on Monday.

(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing

(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

Griner arrives at a court hearing outside Moscow on Monday.

(Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP )

Griner on her way to a court proceeding.

(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

Griner is led away after the hearing.

(Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

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