US basketball participant Brittney Griner appeals Russian conviction

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Washington has stated Griner, who was sentenced to 9 years in jail for drug possession, has been wrongfully detained.

US basketball participant Brittney Griner’s authorized defence group has appealed her conviction by a Russian court docket for narcotics possession and trafficking – for which she was sentenced to 9 years in jail.

Griner’s conviction and sentencing in early August had been condemned by Washington, with President Joe Biden calling it “unacceptable” and pledging to carry Griner and Paul Whelan, who can also be imprisoned in Russia, home.

The United States has stated it can pursue a prisoner swap together with the athlete and Viktor Bout, a Russian imprisoned within the US who was as soon as a prolific arms supplier.

The enchantment was first reported by Russian media. Griner’s lawyer confirmed to Reuters information company on Monday the enchantment had been filed.

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Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on February 17 after authorities discovered cannabis-infused vape cartridges in her baggage.

She has stated bringing the cartridges into the nation, the place she performed for a Russian membership group through the US off season, was an “honest mistake”.

The arrest got here at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow, which escalated additional following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 5 days after the arrest.

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Last month, the US State Department designated Griner as “wrongfully detained”. Moscow has denied the arrest was political.

Speaking shortly earlier than the choose’s ruling, Griner stated: “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that is far from this courtroom.”

US athletes, activists and legislators have rallied behind Griner, whereas heaping strain on the Biden administration to do extra to safe her freedom.

“It has been 178 days since our friend, Brittney Griner, has been wrongfully detained in Russia,” wrote Seattle Storm energy ahead Breanna Stewart on Twitter on Sunday, tagging Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“It is time for her to come home.”

It is widespread for US skilled girls’s basketball gamers, who’re paid solely a fraction of male gamers’ salaries, to affix profitable leagues overseas within the off season.

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