NewsEuropeRussian prosecutors ask for nine and a half years in prison

    Russian prosecutors ask for nine and a half years in prison

    Khimki (Russia) (AFP) – The Russian Prosecutor’s Office requested this Thursday, August 4, nine and a half years in prison against the American women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, accused by Russia of cannabis trafficking, amid tensions between Washington and Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

    “I ask that Griner be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison in a classical regime (penal) colony” and a fine of one million rubles ($16,600), prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko said, according to an AFP journalist present at the court hearing in Khimki, near Moscow.

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    This is practically the maximum possible sentence for this crime, set at 10 years in prison.

    Arrested in February with cannabis-based vapor liquid upon arrival in Moscow, Brittney Griner, 31 years old and 2.06 meters tall, is considered one of the best basketball players in the world.

    Griner pleaded guilty to carelessly bringing this substance to Russia and refuted any kind of drug trafficking.

    On Thursday, the prosecutor claimed that the athlete had knowingly tried to “hide” this cannabis-based liquid from customs officials at the airport.

    Amid the conflict in Ukraine, Griner’s trial took on a geopolitical dimension with talks between Moscow and Washington about a possible prisoner swap that the player could be a part of.

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    Last week, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, reported that Washington had made a “consistent offer” in Moscow to obtain the release of Griner and another American detained in Russia, Paul Whelan.

    So far, there is no agreement between Washington and Moscow on a possible exchange of prisoners.

    Source: France 24

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