Russian Court Jails US Basketball Star Brittney Griner For 9 Years Over Drug Smuggling Read full article

Russian Court Jails US Basketball Star Brittney Griner For 9 Years Over Drug Smuggling

Photos third party reference

 A Russian court on Thursday found US basketball star Brittney Griner shamefaced of smuggling and storing drugs and doomed her to nine years in captivity. 

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced US basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison over drug smuggling as US President Joe Biden called the ruling" inferior". The court" found the defendant shamefaced" of smuggling and possessing" a significant amount of narcotics", judge Anna Sotnikova told a court in the city of Khimki just outside Moscow. Sotnikova sentenced Griner, 31, to nine years in prison and said she'd also have to pay a forfeiture of one million rubles($,590). US President Joe Biden immediately released a statement, calling the Russian court's sentencing of Griner" inferior." 

" Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It's inferior and I call on Russia to release her incontinently so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates," Biden said in the statement.

photos third party reference 

Joe Biden slams Russia`s 9-year jail sentence for Brittney Griner

The US president reiterated that he'd" work lifelessly and pursue every possible avenue" to repatriate Griner. 

Griner's trial accelerated in recent days as the United States and Russia bandy a implicit internee swap that could involve the basketball star. 

The six- foot- nine(2.06 metres) star was detained at a Moscow field in February after she was found carrying vape charges with cannabis oil in her luggage. The arrest came just days before Moscow launched its military intervention in Ukraine. 

Prosecutors had before requested the two- time Olympic basketball gold quarterfinalist and Women's NBA champion be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on drug smuggling charges. 

Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison

Griner's trial came with pressures soaring between Moscow and Washington over Russia's military intervention in Ukraine that has sparked international commination and a litany of Western sanctions. 

" I made an honest mistake and I hope that your ruling does not end my life then," Griner said earlier Thursday. 

star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian jail

" I want the court to understand it was an honest mistake that I made while rushing, under stress, trying to recover frompost-Covid and just trying to get back to my team." 

Griner contended guilty to the charges, but said she didn't intend to break the law or use the banned substance in Russia. 

Her defence team said they were" veritably disappointed" by the verdict and would appeal. 

Brittney Griner: US basketball star jailed for nine years on drug charges

" The court fully ignored all the substantiation of the defence, and most importantly, the shamefaced plea," lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement. 

" The verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We'll certainly file an appeal." 

Prosecutor Nikolay Vlasenko had requested a prison sentence of nine years and six months for Griner, requesting a term just short of the maximum punishment of 10 years. 

Vlasenko said Griner" deliberately" progressed through the green corridor at customs and stated she had nothing to declare" in order to conceal" the substance. 

before in the day Griner walked into the courtroom in bind, escorted by several law enforcement officers and a police dog. 

Standing inside a cage for defendants before the launch of the hearing, she held up a photo of herself with teammates from the Russian club she plays for. 

" Offer" for prisoner exchange 

Griner was detained when she came to Russia to play club basketball with UMMC Ekaterinburg during the US off- season-- a common path for American stars seeking additional income. 

 In previous hearings, Griner said she was regularly tested by US, Russian and European leagues. 

The WNBA star said she had authorization from a US doctor to use medicinal cannabis to relieve pain from her many injuries--" from spine to cartilages". 

Her case has raised speculation about a potential internee swap between Moscow and Washington. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that Washington had made a" substantial offer" to Moscow to free Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, who was imprisoned on espionage charges. 

A prisoner swap was also discussed during a call between Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday. 

The highest- profile Russian prisoner in the United States is Victor Bout, a 55- year-old arms dealer, dubbed the" Merchant of Death", who's serving 25 years in jail. 

There's no sanctioned confirmation that Washington has offered to exchange him. 

Russia and the United States have formerly conducted one prisoner exchange since the start of Moscow's Ukraine offensive. 

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

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