Lawyer appeals Griner’s Russian prison sentence

Russian news outlets reported on Monday that American basketball star Britney Griner’s lawyers have appealed her nine-year Russian prison sentence.

Griner, the Phoenix Mercury center and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was found guilty on August 4. She was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February after an e-cigarette canister containing cannabis oil was found in her luggage.

Griner played for the Yekaterinburg women’s basketball team during the WNBA offseason.

Attorney Maria Blagovorina was quoted as saying on Monday that an appeal had been filed with the Russian news agency, though the reasons for the appeal were not immediately clear.

Blagovorina and co-lawyer Alexander Boykov found that convictions and sentences were excessive, with defendants in similar cases receiving an average sentence of about five years, with about a third of those receiving parole. said it was accepted.

Griner admitted there were canisters in her luggage, but said she had accidentally stuffed them in haste and had no criminal intent. I submitted a written statement that I was prescribed.

Prior to her conviction, the US State Department declared Griner “unlawfully detained.”

Secretary of State Antony Brinken said in July that the United States, along with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia for espionage, had made a “substantial offer” to bring Griner home. took the unusual step of publicly revealing

Blinken didn’t go into detail, but the Associated Press and other news outlets say Washington has killed Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who once earned the nickname “Merchant of Death,” serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States. He reportedly offered to release him. ”

On Sunday, a senior Russian diplomat said exchange talks had taken place.

“This highly sensitive issue of the exchange of convicted Russian and U.S. citizens is being discussed through channels defined by the president,” said Alexander Dartyev, head of the North American division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. told state news agency TASS. , has been discussed. The Russian side has long demanded the release of Viktor Bout. The details should be left to the experts and proceed from the do-it-yourself principle. ”

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