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Russian Court Sentences Brittney Griner To Nine Years In Prison

Thursday, American basketball star Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug possession and smuggling in a Russian court, and sentenced to nine years in prison.

She was also fined 1 million rubles, that equivalent of roughly $16,500. The verdict came nearly six months after Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport.

Earlier, Russian prosecutors requested that US basketball star Brittney Griner be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on drug smuggling charges, AFP heard in court

Reacting to the unfortunate incident, President Biden calls Russia sentencing of US basketball star Griner ‘unacceptable’

In the statement Biden said: “Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,”

The US president, Joe Biden however, reiterated that he would work tirelessly to ensure the repatriation of Giner.

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In the same vain, WNBA has called Griner verdict “unjustified and unfortunate”

Griner pleaded guilty to the charges but stated that she had no intention of breaking the law or using the prohibited substance in Russia.

She said “I made an honest mistake and I hope that your ruling doesn’t end my life here,” Griner said earlier Thursday.

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

However, defence team for US basketball star Griner says will appeal ‘unreasonable’ Russia verdict.

Her disappointed Defence Team said: “The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defence, and most importantly, the guilty plea,”

The lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov maintained that “The verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal.”

According to an MSNBC report, Griner’s circumstances in Russia are uniquely American, and they reflect the vulnerability that often comes with being a Black woman.

Background story: What Happened To Brittney Griner In Russia

Griner’s trial has accelerated in recent days as the US and Russia discuss a possible prisoner swap involving the basketball star.

Griner’s trial occurred at a time when tensions between Moscow and Washington were high due to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which has sparked international condemnation and a slew of Western sanctions.

In February, the six-foot-nine (2.06-metre) star was detained at a Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were discovered in her luggage. The arrest occurred just days before Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

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