The trial of professional women’s basketball player Brittney Griner is set to begin Friday in a Russian courtroom.
The WNBA star has been detained in Russia for more than four months and is facing 10 years in prison on drug smuggling charges.
At the time of her arrest in February, customs officials say the Olympic gold medalist was in possession of vape cartridges that contained hashish oil, an illegal substance in Russia.
Political analysts say Griner’s arrest and trial could not have happened at a worse time. Arrested just a few days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many people believe that Griner has become a political pawn between the United States and Russia.