Russia sentences American basketball player Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison for carrying cannabis oil

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A russian court sentenced this Thursday to nine years in prison American basketball star Brittney Griner, after being found guilty of Introduce deliberately in Russia vaping cartridges that had cannabisdespite being illegal.

Griner had previously pleaded with the judge not to “end his life” with a harsh prison sentence. However, the Russian prosecutor asked that she be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. The cannabis is illegal in russia for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

The basketball player, two-time Olympic gold medalist and star of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was stopped at the airport Muscovite of Sheremetyevo on February 17 with the vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in his luggage.

pleaded guiltybut said that I had no intention bringing a prohibited substance into Russia or harming anyone. “I made an honest mistake and I hope his sentence does not end my life here,” Griner said in court, according to Reuters.

“My parents taught me two important things: one, take responsibility and two, work hard for everything you have. That is why I pleaded guilty to my charges,” she added.

After the announcement of the sentence, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, argued that “Russia is stopping Brittney by mistake.”

“It is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release him immediately so he can be with his wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Trump said in a letter released by the White House.

“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and will seek every avenue possible to get Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible”, he concluded.

In accordance with Reutersthis sentence could pave the way for a prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States that would include the 31-year-old athlete already Viktor Bout, a Russian imprisoned in the United States who was a prolific arms dealer.

“I know everyone keeps talking about political pawns and politics, but I hope that is far from this room,” Griner said.

The athlete’s lawyers said that should be acquitted but that if the court deems it necessary to punish her, it should be treated leniently considering her a sports legend alongside Usain Bolt and Michael Schumacher.

“In sprinting there is Usain Bolt, in Formula 1 there is Michael Schumacher and in women’s basketball there is Brittney Griner,” lawyer Maria Blagovolina, a partner at law firm Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners, told the court.

(With information from Reuters)

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