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Moscow condemns US basketball star to 9 years, ire of Biden

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US basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years after being found guilty of drug trafficking by the court in Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow.
“Russia is holding” Griner “unfairly. It is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release her immediately,” US President Joe Biden said, commenting on the ruling.

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Considered one of the best basketball players in the world, she was arrested in February on her arrival in Moscow on drug possession charges after it was found in her luggage of cannabis oil. She was a two-time Olympic champion with the United States, the 31 / year old American basketball player, she had pleaded guilty, but claimed to have inadvertently brought the substance to Russia, rejecting the charge of drug trafficking. Prosecutors claim that Griner knowingly hid the cannabis oil in her luggage. In the midst of the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Russia and the West, the story of Brittney Griner takes on geopolitical contours, as Moscow and Washington discuss the possible exchange of prisoners: an exchange in which the American basketball champion could be part. The US expects the release of Griner and also of another US citizen detained in Russia, Paul Whelan.

“They call me a political pawn, but I hope that politics stays out of this courtroom,” the champion said during the hearing, pleading with the judges not to “put an end to her life” in the final appeal before the sentence in Russia. “I made a mistake in good faith, I had no intention of breaking the law,” she said in the Khimki court. The basketball player, who appeared behind bars and handcuffed, asked “sorry to my team, to my family. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. The only thing I want is to go back to them”. “Russia holds” Brittney Griner “unfairly. It is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release her immediately.” This was stated by Joe Biden commenting on the conviction of the basketball star by a Russian court.

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Source: Ansa

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