Brittney Griner: Russian court sentences US basketball star to 9 years in prison on ‘drug’ charges in ruling Biden calls ‘unacceptable’

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Brittney Griner

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American basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced Thursday in a Russian court to 9 years in prison on “drug” charges, in a case that has raised tensions over so-called “hostage diplomacy” between Washington and Moscow.

Griner, 31, was arrested at an airport in the Russian capital last February after customs agents found vape cartridges in her luggage containing cannabis oil, which is illegal in Russia and which the athlete claims she used with medicinal purposes.

She has been in jail ever since, and to reduce her sentence, the Olympic medalist pleaded guilty to drug-related charges, though she said she did not intend to break any laws.

The US claims she is “unjustly detained” and has asked the Kremlin to release her in a prisoner exchange, although it is unknown if it has received a response on the proposal.

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