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

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A Russian tribunal has sentenced US hoops prima Brittney Griner to 9 years successful situation connected cause charges.

US WNBA hoops  superstar Brittney Griner looks from wrong  a defendants' cage earlier  a proceeding  astatine  the Khimki Court, extracurricular  Moscow connected  July 26, 2022. - Griner, a two-time Olympic golden  medallist and WNBA champion, was detained astatine  Moscow airdrome  successful  February connected  charges of carrying successful  her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, which could transportation  a 10-year situation  sentence. (Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP)

US WNBA hoops superstar Brittney Griner looks from wrong a defendants' cage earlier a proceeding astatine the Khimki Court, extracurricular Moscow. File photo. Photo: AFP / Alexander Zemlianichenko

Griner, 31, admitted possessing cannabis lipid but told the tribunal she made an "honest mistake".

But the tribunal convicted her of smuggling and possessing narcotics, and gave her adjacent to the maximum condemnation recommended by prosecutors.

Griner is simply a treble Olympic golden medallist and is considered 1 of the champion players successful the world.

She was detained successful February astatine an airdrome adjacent Moscow erstwhile vape cartridges containing cannabis lipid were recovered successful her luggage. She had travel to Russia to play nine hoops during the US off-season.

Soon after, Russia invaded Ukraine and her lawsuit became taxable to precocious illustration diplomacy betwixt the US and Russia.

US President Joe Biden called the sentencing "unacceptable".

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: "Russia, and immoderate state engaging successful wrongful detention, represents a menace to the information of everyone travelling, working, and surviving abroad."

As Griner was being led retired of the courtroom successful handcuffs, Reuters news bureau quoted her arsenic saying: "I emotion my family."

It is unclear however agelong she volition really walk down bars, arsenic the US and Russia person been discussing a imaginable captive swap that could impact the hoops player.

Reports successful US media suggest imprisoned Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout - known arsenic the Merchant of Death - could beryllium transferred by Washington to the Russian authorities arsenic portion of the deal.

Griner's defence squad said they would entreaty against Thursday's verdict by the tribunal successful Khimki, adjacent Moscow.

Reading the verdict, the presiding justice successful Khimki said she took into relationship the information that the American had already spent a sizeable clip successful detention.

Earlier, Griner told the tribunal aft some sides presented closing arguments: "I made an honorable mistake, and I anticipation successful your ruling it does not extremity my life."

"I did not conspire oregon program to perpetrate this crime," she added.

Griner besides said she had received neither an mentation of her rights nor entree to a lawyer successful the archetypal hours of her detention, and that she had to usage a translation app connected her telephone to communicate.

- BBC

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