Lawyers for the American basketball star Britney Griner appealed their nine-year prison sentence in Russia for possession of drugs, Russian news agencies reported on Monday, amid talks between United States Yes Russia this could lead to a high-profile prisoner swap.
grinningeight-time Phoenix star center Mercury of the WNBA and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was sentenced on August 4 after police said they found vaping pods containing cannabis oil at Sheremetyevo airport. Griner admitted he had the cans in his luggage, but said he inadvertently hastily packed them and had no criminal intent. His defense team submitted written statements indicating that he had been prescribed cannabis to treat the pain.
His arrest in February came at a time of great tension between Moscow Yes Washingtona few days before Russia send troops to Ukraine. At this moment, grinningrecognized as one of the best players in the history of the WNBAreturned to Russia.
The lawyer Marie Blagovolina was quoted by Russian news agencies on Monday as saying the appeal had been filed, as expected, but the reasons were not immediately clear.
The nine-year sentence was close to the maximum of 10, and Blagovolin and co-counsel Alexander Boykov they said after being sentenced that the sentence was excessive. Prior to his sentencing, the US State Department said that grinning had been “wrongfully detained”, a charge that Russia flatly rejected. Reflecting the growing pressure on the government to Biden for me to do something else to bring to grinning house, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkentook the unusual step of publicly revealing in July that Washington had made a “substantial offer” to bring grinning house, with Paul Whelanan American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.
Blinken did not elaborate, but the Associated Press and other news organizations reported that Washington had offered to release Victor Bouta Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence in the United States who once earned the nickname “dealer of death”.
On Sunday, a senior Russian diplomat said talks had taken place on a swap. “This rather sensitive issue of the exchange of convicted Russian and American citizens is being discussed through the channels set by our presidents,” he said. alexander Darchev, head of the North American Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the state news agency Tass. “Indeed, we are talking about these people. The Russian side has long demanded the release of Viktor Bout. The details should be left to the professionals.”
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