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Russian court rejects NBA player Britney Grenier's appeal

Russian court rejects NBA player Britney Grenier’s appeal

On Tuesday, the Russian judiciary rejected the appeal of American basketball player Britney Greiner, who was sentenced in Russia to nine years in prison for cannabis smuggling and who demanded that her “shocking” sentence be commuted, against the backdrop of very high tensions between Moscow and Washington.

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“President (Joe) Biden has been very clear that Britney must be released immediately,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan replied, expressing regret that she continued to be unjustly imprisoned. today. “

And Judge Elena Vorontsova announced that the Krasnogorsk District Court of the Moscow Region, which considered the appeal, decided “not to change” the ruling issued last August against the American basketball star.

Only one relaxation compared to the initial sentencing: Every day you spent in custody before being sentenced by Britney Grenier, who was arrested in February and has been imprisoned since, will count as a day and a half and be deducted from the total sentence to be served.

“I really hope that the court will amend this ruling because it was very stressful and very traumatic to my mental and psychological state,” announced shortly before the NBA star, who is participating in the hearing by video link. , according to an AFP journalist.

Wearing a red and black checkered T-shirt, 32-year-old Britney Greiner said she was saddened to be separated from her family and unable to communicate with them.

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She said she “didn’t understand” such a harsh sentence against her “when people are subjected to far less serious crimes than I do”.

One of his lawyers, Alexander Bokov, for his part, asked the court to “consider a judgment of acquittal on the grounds of dismissal.”

“The eyes of the whole world are directed to this work,” Boikov assured me.

“The harshness of this ruling affects not only those involved in the trial, but also people around the world,” he said.

Britney Greiner was arrested in the Russian capital with a vaporizer containing cannabis liquid.

She admitted to possessing the substance, but claimed she had inadvertently brought it to Russia and used it legally in the United States as a pain reliever.

She had gone to Russia to play in the US off-season, a common practice for WNBA female basketball players who often make a better living abroad than the US.

The case of this woman, who was sentenced last August to nine years in prison for cannabis smuggling, has acquired geopolitical significance in the context of the crisis between Moscow and Washington linked to the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Other US citizens are currently imprisoned in Russia and the US also wants to secure their release.

Washington has repeatedly said it made a “big offer” to release two Americans imprisoned in Russia, Britney Grenier and former US soldier Paul Whelan.

According to Russian diplomatic sources, a possible prisoner exchange could alarm Britney Greiner and the Russian arms smuggler in US custody, Victor Bout.

Mr. Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

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