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US Star Basketball Player Brittney Griner Jailed for Nine years on Drug Charges in Russia

The two-time Olympian told the court that she had committed an "honest mistake

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Ishita Chakraborty
Ishita Chakraborty
Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers social issues, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

RUSSIA: Brittney Griner, a famous US basketball player, was given a nine-year prison term in Russia for drug offences.

Soon after, Russia invaded Ukraine, and since then, her case has been the focus of prominent US-Russian diplomacy.

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“I love my family,” Griner, 31, was heard saying as she was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

The two-time Olympian admitted to having cannabis oil in her possession but told the court that she had committed an “honest mistake.”

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She was found guilty of drug trafficking and possession by a court outside of Moscow. The prosecution asked for a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

The American had already spent a significant amount of time in detention; the presiding judge stated as she read the verdict on Thursday.

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Maria Blagovolina, the defence attorney for Griner, claimed that her client was “extremely angry, very anxious.”

“She can hardly talk. It’s a difficult time for her. When we saw Brittney on Tuesday, we told her, ‘See you on Thursday’. She said, ‘See you on doomsday’. So it looks like she was right,” she added.

The defence team declared that they would challenge the judgement.

A vape cartridge containing cannabis oil was discovered in Griner’s luggage in February at an airport close to Moscow, leading to her detention. Griner is regarded as one of the top players in the world.

For the US off-season, she had travelled to Russia to play club basketball.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden called the sentencing “unacceptable”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Russia, and any country engaging in wrongful detention, represents a threat to the safety of everyone travelling, working, and living abroad.”

Given that the US and Russia have been discussing a prospective prisoner swap that could include the basketball player, it is uncertain how long she will actually be imprisoned.

The Merchant of Death, Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is now detained, may be handed up by Washington to the Russian authorities as part of the agreement, according to sources in US media.

Also Read: 92 Ukrainians Detained During the Ukraine War: Russia Investigator

Author

  • Ishita Chakraborty

    Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers social issues, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

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