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U.S. Basketball Player Brittney Griner Convicted by Russian Courts

Justicia rusa declara culpable a la baloncestista americana Brittney Griner

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On Thursday, the Russian courts found U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling.

Griner is guilty of possession and illegal introduction of narcotics through customs, the judge, Anna Sotnikova, ruled.

The judge did not disclose the athlete’s sentence. However, on Thursday, the Prosecutor’s Office sought nine and a half years in prison for the defendant, who was arrested last February at a Moscow airport with cannabis oil in her suitcase.

Griner, 31, had admitted her mistake today but also asked for clemency during the hearing held in the city court of Jimki in the Moscow region.

The athlete assured her that she had made a mistake without malice but hoped the ruling would not end her life.

While the prosecutor considered that Brittney Griner’s guilt had been ultimately proven, the defense asked for her acquittal or the lowest possible prison sentence.

Russian legislation punishes the crime allegedly committed by the 2.06-meter American player, who plays for the Russian team UMMC Yekaterinburg, with a maximum of ten years in prison.

The U.S. government believes that the basketball player’s arrest for crossing the border with cannabis oil was wrong and is demanding her immediate release, as are many NBA and WNBA stars.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov to do a swap. This would be an exchange of Griner and Paul Whelan —sentenced to 16 years for espionage— for Viktor Bout, known as the“Merchant of Death”. Bout is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

Recently, the White House rejected Russia’s “counter-proposal” to include a second Russian prisoner in the exchange, the Chechen Vadim Krasikov.

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