American basketball player Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia on Thursday for drug smuggling. He is also obliged to pay a fine of one million rubles (about 400 thousand crowns). According to judge Anna Sotnikova, the player committed the crime intentionally, writes CNN.
The popular player is facing accusations of a drug offence, as he was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February when vaporizer refills, i.e. electronic cigarettes, containing hemp or hashish oil were found in his possession. luggage In court, Griner admitted to possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil, but denied knowingly breaking the law.
At the last court hearing, the defense brought, among other things, the argument that doctors in the United States prescribed medical marijuana to Griner because of his “chronic illness.” However, he did not succeed in the Russian court.
The US has already expressed a willingness to exchange Americans imprisoned in Russia. According to CNN, Washington offered Russian arms dealer Viktor But, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the US, for the release of Griner and ex-soldier Paul Whelan.
According to US officials, even after the decision, the situation remains the same and the US administration will continue to try to advance these negotiations and pressure Russia to accept the offer.
More on Brittney Griner and American women in Russian sports:
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Griner apologized in his closing statement to the court and asked the court for leniency, explaining that he had no intention of breaking any Russian laws.
The basketball star’s legal team said in a statement that the court ignored all the evidence presented by the defense and they will appeal the decision.