Griner’s 9-year sentence upheld by Russian Court

Reuters reports

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, paving the way for her to be sent to a penal colony, in a court case that Washington has called “sham.”

U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration in late July had proposed a deal for a prisoner swap with Russia to secure the release of Griner and former U.S. marine Paul Whelan, said he will not let up efforts to bring them home.

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.

After retiring for no more than 30 minutes to consider the appeal, the presiding judge said the original verdict was upheld “without changes” except for the counting of time served in pre-trial detention as part of the sentence.

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