Russian Court Jails US Basketball Star Brittney Griner For 9…


A Russian courtroom on Thursday sentenced US basketball celebrity Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail over drug smuggling as US President Joe Biden referred to as the ruling “unacceptable”. The courtroom “discovered the defendant in charge” of smuggling and possessing “a vital quantity of narcotics”, pass judgement on Anna Sotnikova instructed a courtroom within the the town of Khimki simply outdoor Moscow. Sotnikova sentenced Griner, 31, to 9 years in jail and mentioned she would additionally need to pay a high-quality of a million rubles ($16,590). US President Joe Biden instantly launched a remark, calling the Russian courtroom’s sentencing of Griner “unacceptable.”

“Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable and I name on Russia to unlock her instantly so she may also be together with her spouse, family members, pals and teammates,” Biden mentioned within the remark.

The US president reiterated that he would “paintings tirelessly and pursue each conceivable street” to repatriate Griner.

Griner’s trial sped up in fresh days because the United States and Russia speak about a possible prisoner change that might contain the basketball celebrity.

The six-foot-nine (2.06 metres) celebrity was once detained at a Moscow airport in February after she was once discovered wearing vape cartridges with hashish oil in her baggage. The arrest got here simply days sooner than Moscow introduced its army intervention in Ukraine.

Prosecutors had previous asked the two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Women’s NBA champion be sentenced to 9 and a part years in jail on drug smuggling fees.

Griner’s trial got here with tensions hovering between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s army intervention in Ukraine that has sparked world condemnation and a litany of Western sanctions.

“I made a decent mistake and I am hoping that your ruling does not finish my existence right here,” Griner mentioned previous Thursday.

“I would like the courtroom to know it was once a decent mistake that I made whilst speeding, below tension, seeking to get better from post-Covid and simply seeking to get again to my group.”

Griner pleaded in charge to the fees, however mentioned she didn’t intend to damage the regulation or use the banned substance in Russia.

Her defence group mentioned they had been “very disillusioned” through the decision and would enchantment.

“The courtroom totally unnoticed the entire proof of the defence, and most significantly, the in charge plea,” legal professionals Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov mentioned in a remark.

“The verdict is really unreasonable. We will definitely report an enchantment.”

Prosecutor Nikolay Vlasenko had asked a jail sentence of 9 years and 6 months for Griner, inquiring for a time period simply wanting the utmost punishment of 10 years.

Vlasenko mentioned Griner “intentionally” proceeded throughout the inexperienced hall at customs and mentioned she had not anything to claim “to be able to disguise” the substance.

Earlier within the day Griner walked into the court in handcuffs, escorted through a number of regulation enforcement officials and a police canine.

Standing inside of a cage for defendants sooner than the beginning of the listening to, she held up a photograph of herself with teammates from the Russian membership she performs for.

“Proposal” for prisoner change

Griner was once detained when she got here to Russia to play membership basketball with UMMC Ekaterinburg all through the United States low season — a not unusual trail for American stars in quest of further source of revenue.

In earlier hearings, Griner mentioned she was once frequently examined through US, Russian and European leagues.

The WNBA celebrity mentioned she had permission from a US physician to make use of medicinal hashish to alleviate ache from her many accidents — “from backbone to cartilages”.

Her case has raised hypothesis a few doable prisoner change between Moscow and Washington.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned ultimate week that Washington had made a “considerable proposal” to Moscow to unfastened Griner and previous US Marine Paul Whelan, who was once imprisoned on espionage fees.

A prisoner change was once additionally mentioned all through a choice between Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday.

The highest-profile Russian prisoner within the United States is Victor Bout, a 55-year-old palms trafficker, dubbed the “Merchant of Death”, who’s serving 25 years in prison.

There isn’t any professional affirmation that Washington has presented to replace him.


Russia and the United States have already performed one prisoner change because the get started of Moscow’s Ukraine offensive.

In April, Washington exchanged former US Marine Trevor Reed for convicted drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko.

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