Brittney Griner’s lawyers appeal against WNBA star’s 9-year drug sentence – National

Lawyer for American basketball star Brittney Griner on Monday filed an appeal against her 9 years Russian Russian news agencies reported on Monday.

Griner, center of the Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was sentenced on Aug. 4. She was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after finding a vape cartridge containing cannabis oil in a container. her luggage.

Griner played for a women’s basketball team in Yekaterinburg during the WNBA season.

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Attorney Maria Blagovolina was quoted by Russian news agencies on Monday as saying an appeal had been filed, but the grounds of the appeal were not immediately clear.

Blagovolina and co-lawyer Alexander Boykov said after conviction that the sentence was excessive and that in similar cases, defendants received an average sentence of about five years, with about a third being pardoned.

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Griner admitted that she had the boxes in her luggage, but said she had unknowingly packed them in a hurry and that she had no intention of committing a crime. Her defense team presented written statements that she was prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

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Prior to his conviction, the US State Department declared Griner “wrongfully detained”.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the unusual step of publicly revealing in July that the US had made “an important proposal” to bring Griner home, along with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia. for espionage.

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Blinken did not elaborate, but the Associated Press and other news organizations have reported that Washington has offered to free Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence in the United States and formerly known as the “Mr. “The merchant of death. “

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On Sunday, a senior Russian diplomat said exchange talks were underway.

Alexander Darchiev, head of the North American Department of the Foreign Ministry, told the state news agency Tass: “This rather sensitive issue of the swap of convicted Russian and American citizens is being discussed through channels. determined by our presidents. “These individuals are, indeed, under discussion. The Russian side has long sought to free Viktor Bout. The details should be left to professionals, following the principle of “ do no harm”.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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