News ID: 108220
Publish Date : 25 October 2022 - 20:45

KRASNOGORSK, Russia (Reuters) - A Russian court on Tuesday dismissed U.S. WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal against a nine-year sentence for possessing and smuggling vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
Griner and her lawyers had asked for acquittal or at least a reduction in her sentence, which they said was disproportionate to the offence and at odds with Russian judicial practice.
The presiding judge said the verdict was upheld “without changes” except for the counting of time served in pre-trial detention as part of the sentence.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, was arrested on Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport.
Griner apologized for what she said was an honest mistake, as she had at her original trial, saying: “I did not intend to do this”, and asking the court to take into account the fact that she had pleaded guilty.
She has said she used medical cannabis to relieve the pain from a series of sports injuries. Both recreational and medicinal uses are prohibited in Russia.
When asked if she had understood the verdict, she merely replied “Yes” before being led away.
U.S. President Joe Biden had called the original verdict “unacceptable”.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday that Washington was working to free Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, serving 16 years in jail after being convicted of spying, and that there had been “active discussions, including in recent days”.

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