Russia sentences NBA star Britney Grainer to 9 years in prison

Russia sentences NBA star Britney Grainer to 9 years in prison
Russia sentences NBA star Britney Grainer to 9 years in prison

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced American basketball star Britney Greiner to nine years in prison for drug trafficking, a harsh sentence that US President Joe Biden considered “unacceptable” and paves the way for a possible prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

The Phoenix Mercury player, who is considered one of the best basketball players in the world, was arrested in February in Moscow before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in possession of e-cigarette packages containing cannabis liquid, and fell into the trap of the geopolitical crisis that has arisen between the United States and Russia.

Her trial has accelerated in recent days at a time when negotiations are underway between the two countries over a prisoner exchange that may include Greiner, and Washington recently confirmed in this context that it made an “important” offer to Moscow.

Judge Anna Sotnikova declared that the “court found the defendant guilty” of drug possession and smuggling, according to an AFP journalist who attended the hearing at the Khimki court near Moscow.

The judge added that Greiner was sentenced to “nine years in prison in a prison complex” and to pay a fine of one million rubles (about 16,000 euros at the current exchange rate).

Biden condemned the ruling, stressing in a statement issued immediately after the ruling was announced that “this is unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can join her partner, loved ones, friends and teammates,” stressing his determination to “work tirelessly” to return her to the country.

For their part, sports lawyers announced that they would appeal the “completely illogical” ruling.

“I made a mistake in good faith, and I hope the ruling does not end my life here,” Greiner said the last time she approached the court’s judges before their decision.

Before the start of the session on Thursday, she uploaded a picture in front of journalists in which she appeared surrounded by her colleagues in the Russian club OGMK Ekaterinburg, who came to play with him.

The 31-year-old arrived in Russia to play again during the MLS hiatus with OGMK Ekaterinburg, in a tradition she started with the Russian team since 2014 during the WNBA league hiatus.

Greiner, who won Olympic gold with her country in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020, was stopped at the airport with an e-cigarette liquid containing cannabis.

Admitting that she possessed this substance, she asserted that she had brought it to Russia by mistake.

And she denied any trafficking in it, stressing that this small amount is for her own use as a pain reliever and prescribed to her by a doctor because she suffers from chronic pain due to her many injuries.

The article is in Arabic

Tags: Russia sentences NBA star Britney Grainer years prison