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US basketballer Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison on drug charges

World news. A Russian court found American star basketball player Brittney Griner guilty of drug smuggling and sentenced her to nine years in prison.

The basketballer was found guilty of the crime where it was proved that she performed the crimes knowingly. According to media reports the public prosecutor had only asked for half a year more.

BILD wrote that they assumed that the verdict was politically motivated. This is because in addition to Griner, Paul Whelan (52) is another US citizen currently imprisoned in Russia. He has been sentenced to a long prison term on charges of espionage.

What has US President Joe Biden said?

In a written statement on Thursday, he said Russia was “wrongly” detaining the 31-year-old. Biden continued: “This is unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, family, friends and teammates.”

Brittney Griner, who has been playing for Russian side UMMC Ekaterinburg since 2014, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on February 17 after vape cartridges containing hash oil were discovered in her luggage.

Marijuana is banned in Russia and the footballer was held in custody until she was sentenced.

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