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Russian court docket rejects Griner attraction in opposition to 9-year sentence


MOSCOW (AP) – A Russian court docket on Tuesday upheld a nine-year jail sentence for American basketball star Brittney Griner for drug possession, rejecting her attraction.

Griner, an eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was sentenced August 4 after police stated they discovered a vape field containing hashish oil. in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

The Moscow District Court docket upheld the decision on Tuesday. Nevertheless, within the ruling, the court docket introduced that Griner’s time in jail can be recalculated with the time spent in pre-trial detention. At some point in pre-trial detention will depend as 1.5 days in jail, so the basketball star will spend about 8 years in jail.

Griner participated within the Moscow Regional Court docket listening to through video name from a penal colony outdoors Moscow, the place she was detained.

Griner’s arrest in February got here at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, simply days earlier than Russia despatched troops into Ukraine. On the time, Griner was returning to Russia, the place she performed through the season of the American league.

Griner admitted she had containers in her baggage however testified that she had unknowingly packed them in a rush and had no intention of committing against the law. Her protection staff offered written statements saying she was prescribed hashish to deal with the ache.

The nine-year sentence is near the 10-year most, and Griner’s attorneys argue after convicting that the punishment was extreme. In related circumstances, they stated, defendants acquired a median sentence of about 5 years, with a couple of third being pardoned.

Earlier than her convictionThe US State Division claimed Griner was “wrongfully detained” – an allegation Russia has categorically denied.

Displays rising stress on the Biden administration To do extra to convey Griner dwelling, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the bizarre step of publicly revealing in July that Washington had made a “vital proposal” to convey Griner dwelling, together with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year jail sentence. in Russia for espionage.

Blinken didn’t elaborate, however the Related Press and different information organizations have reported that Washington has supplied to commerce Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms supplier serving a 25-year sentence within the US and previously often called the “The service provider of loss of life.”

The White Home stated it has but to obtain an efficient response from Russia to the request.

Russian diplomats declined to touch upon the US proposal and urged Washington to debate the matter in secret talks, avoiding public statements.

In September, US President Joe Biden met with Cherelle Griner, spouse of Brittney Griner, in addition to the participant’s agent, Lindsay Colas. Biden additionally sat privately with Elizabeth Whelan, sister of Paul Whelan.

The White Home stated after the conferences that the president careworn to the households his “dedication to proceed working by way of all out there avenues to get Brittney and Paul dwelling safely.”

The US and Russia did a prisoner swap in April. Moscow launched former US Marine Trevor Reed in trade for the discharge of a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted of a drug-trafficking conspiracy.

Moscow has additionally pushed for the discharge of different Russians being held by the US.

One in every of them is Alexander Vinnik, who’s accused of laundering billions of {dollars} by way of an unlawful cryptocurrency trade. Vinnik was arrested in Greece in 2017 and extradited to the US in August.

Vinnik’s French lawyer, Frederic Belot, advised Russia’s Izvestia newspaper final month that his consumer hopes to be a part of a potential swap.

The newspaper speculated that one candidate may very well be Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker. In 2017, he was sentenced to 27 years in jail for hacking and bank card fraud.


Observe AP’s protection of the Griner case:


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