US basketball player Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in prison and a fine of 1 million rubles (about $16,500) in a drug smuggling case.
The court dismissed arguments from the athlete's lawyers, who claimed that Griner allegedly felt unwell and therefore could accidentally throw vapes with hash oil into her luggage. Claims about violation of rules of investigative actions were dismissed as well.
In the last word, Griner apologized to the team of the Yekaterinburg UMMC, in which she played since 2015, and her fans.
Brittney Griner once again stated that she had no intention to violate the laws of the Russian Federation. She made a mistake and she was sorry about it, the athlete said. She explained her act with post-COVID stress and asked for forgiveness from her teammates, parents and her common-law wife. She ended her speech by saying, "I hope you don't end my life with your judgment."
Griner, a US citizen, was found guilty under Article 228 ("Illegal acquisition, possession of drugs”) and 229 ("Smuggling of drugs in large quantities”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
During the trial, Russian prosecutors demanded that the American be sentenced to 9,5 years in prison.
Brittney Griner was detained with hash oil at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on March 5.
US President Joe Biden said that Griner's sentence was unacceptable. In a statement published on the White House website, Biden called for her release, and said that the US authorities would continue to work for Griner's and Whelan's return home.
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