Brittney Griner: American basketball player found guilty in Russian drug trial
Griner's defence branded the verdict 'absolutely unreasonable'
Brittney Griner has been found guilty of drug possession and smuggling by a Russian court after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her bags in February.
She has been sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay a fine that totals around half a million roubles (£13,430).
Griner, 31, was detained at Moscow airport earlier this year when vape containers containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage. Cannabis is currently illegal in Russia.
The American basketball player apologised to her family during her closing remarks and said she had no intention of breaking Russian law when she flew into Moscow earlier this year with cartridges containing just 0.7 grams of THC.
Griner's defence branded the verdict "absolutely unreasonable" and said they "will certainly file an appeal."
"I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn't end my life here."
Take 8 minutes to watch WNBA star Brittney Griner's powerful testimony from her jail cell ahead of her sentencing in Russian court. pic.twitter.com/XMBqOmqZi7
— The Recount (@therecount) August 4, 2022
"I made an honest mistake, and I hope in your ruling it does not end my life," Griner said during her closing statement.
An acquittal in Russian court is rare, with fewer than one per cent of defendants receiving a 'not guilty' verdict. In Griner's case, prosecutors called for nine and a half years in prison while Griner's lawyers highlighted her profile in the sporting world as an indication of her character, urging for a more lenient sentence.
Griner's future may rest on the shoulders of the US political system, with diplomats suggesting a prison swap. For the safe return of Griner and another American citizen, Paul Whelan, they have offered to release Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout
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