NewsWorldAmerican basketball player Brittney Griner sentenced in Russia to...

American basketball player Brittney Griner sentenced in Russia to 9 years in prison – Yahoo News

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Since her arrest at a Moscow airport, a few days before the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the double Olympic champion has been plunged into the geopolitical crisis between Russia and the United States.INTERNATIONAL – Detained since February in Russia, the American star of the women’s basketball Brittney Griner was sentenced this Thursday, August 4, to 9 years in prison in a penal colony and a fine of one million rubles (about 16,000 euros) by a Russian court for drug trafficking, after her arrest with a vape containing cannabis liquid. This heavy sentence was described as “unacceptable” by US President Joe Biden, who is paving the way for a possible prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington. “The court found the defendant guilty” of illegal possession and trafficking of a “significant quantity” of drugs, said judge Anna Sotnikova, according to an AFP journalist present at the court in Khimki, near Moscow. The 31-year-old denies any smuggling. Denouncing a “verdict is absolutely insane”, the player’s lawyers announced in a press release their intention to “without any doubt” appeal the conviction. The player listened to the judge’s statement with her face lowered, locked in the cage reserved for the defendants in the courtroom. considered “unacceptable” the conviction of the athlete. “I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be reunited with her wife, relatives and teammates,” he urged in a statement. The American leader has pledged to work “tirelessly” and to “explore all possible avenues” in order to work for his release. Arrested in February in Moscow, shortly before the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the double Olympic champion been caught up in the geopolitical crisis between Russia and the United States. Her trial has accelerated in recent days as the two countries negotiate a prisoner swap that the player could be part of, with Washington claiming to have recently made a “substantial” offer to Moscow. According to several American media, it would be a question of exchanging a famous Russian arms trafficker detained in the United States, Viktor Bout, against Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia.Read more“I committed a mistake in good faith and I hope that the judgment will not end my life here”, had pleaded Brittney Griner during her last speech before the statement of the court’s decision. Since the start of the trial, the young woman, considered one of the best basketball players in the world, appeared focused, answering the court’s questions with calm and precision. Thursday, before the start of the hearing, she held up to reporters a photo of herself surrounded by her basketball teammates in Russia. “I never wanted to hurt anyone” The Phoenix player Mercury had come to Russia to play in the U.S. offseason, a common practice for WNBA female basketball players who often make a better living abroad than in the United States. She had been arrested at the airport with cannabis vaping liquid. She admitted to having been in possession of this substance, however claiming to have brought it to Russia by mistake. Above all, she refuted any trafficking, stressing that this small quantity of substance was only for her personal consumption, for analgesic purposes, because she suffers from chronic pain. “I never wanted to hurt anyone, I never intended to endanger the Russian population, nor to break the law here,” said Brittney Griner on Thursday. The prosecutor assured him that she had knowingly tried to “hide” the cannabis-based liquid from customs officers at the airport. Read also Megan Rapinoe pays tribute to Brittney Griner from the White House Basketball players who play in Russia will not be most called up to the France teamVIDEO – Russia: the tense trial of American basketball player Brittney Griner opened yesterday in Moscow

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