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Russian courtroom will hear WNBA star Brittney Griner’s attraction on Tuesday

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U.S. Nationwide Girls’s Basketball Affiliation (NBA) basketball participant Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, stands inside her cage the defendants earlier than a trial in Khimki, a suburb of Moscow, on August 4, 2022.

Evgenia Novozhenina | AFP | lovely photos

WASHINGTON — A Russian courtroom will hear an attraction by WNBA star Brittney Griner on Tuesday after the American athlete was convicted of drug prices earlier this yr.

Griner’s attorneys advised NBC Information forward of the listening to that the two-time Olympic gold medalist was “fairly pessimistic” that the decide would overturn the courtroom’s unique ruling.

“She’s hoping to get some lowered sentence,” Maria Blagovolina, Griner’s lawyer, advised NBC Information’ Andrea Mitchell, including that the 32-year-old athlete will seem in courtroom by way of videoconference.

Griner, who performed skilled basketball in Russia through the WNBA season, was arrested in February after Russian authorities discovered a vape field containing hashish oil in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

Her attorneys stated Griner solely used marijuana for medical functions and unintentionally packed bins of marijuana in her suitcase as a result of the skilled athlete was in a rush.

Below Russian regulation, this cost carries a penalty of as much as 10 years in jail. In August, Griner was discovered responsible and sentenced to 9 years. She was additionally requested to pay 1 million rubles, or $16,301.

Brittney Griner sentenced in Russian court, sentenced to 9 years in prison

The courtroom’s resolution comes because the Biden administration scrambles to safe her launch.

Per week earlier than the ruling, the Biden administration confirmed it had requested the Russian authorities to launch Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan.

‘I am terrified that I may keep right here eternally’

US WNBA basketball famous person Brittney Griner stands contained in the defendant’s cage earlier than a listening to at Khimki Court docket exterior Moscow on July 26, 2022.

Alexander Zemlianichenko | AFP | lovely photos

Days earlier than she pleaded responsible final month, Griner wrote a letter to President Joe Biden asking for his direct assist together with her case.

“I sit right here in a Russian jail, alone with my ideas and with out the safety of my spouse, household, mates, Olympic jersey or any achievements, I worry that I would right here eternally,” the skilled athlete wrote in a month 7 5 letters.

“I understand you are dealing with a number of issues, however please do not forget about me and… different American incarcerated. Do all you may to get us house,” Griner wrote. .

After receiving the letter, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris phoned the spouse of the WNBA star, Cherelle Griner. Biden additionally wrote to Griner that American diplomats had delivered in particular person in Moscow.

Biden reassured his spouse that he was working to make sure Griner’s launch as quickly as doable, in response to the White Home announcement of the decision. He additionally advised Cherelle Griner that he was working to free Whelan, who’s serving a 16-year sentence in Russia.

Whelan was arrested in 2018 on prices of spying for america. On the time of his arrest, Whelan was touring to Russia to attend a marriage, in response to his brother, David Whelan.

Griner’s arrest and subsequent detention got here because the West repeatedly warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in regards to the deployment of lots of of hundreds of troops alongside the Ukrainian border. After Russia’s full-scale invasion of its former Soviet neighbor, the US and its allies rolled out a sequence of punitive sanctions towards Moscow and constructed up a billion-dollar warfare arsenal. for Kyiv.

Two months after the warfare, Russia agreed to launch former US Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner alternate.

Reed was accused of assaulting a Russian police officer and was detained by the authorities there in 2019. He was later sentenced to 9 years in a Russian jail. Reed and his household have maintained his innocence, and the US authorities describes him as unjustly imprisoned.

So as to free Reed, Biden agreed to launch Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal jail sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into america.

Russia says it is ready to discuss prisoner swap for Brittney Griner

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