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Brittney Griner: Russia wants to discuss prisoner swap | basketball

After Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years for drug trafficking, Russia mentioned it was prepared to discuss a attainable prisoner alternate. This Friday, the international minister of the European nation, Sergei Lavrov, mentioned that Moscow is open to speak with the US on this challenge. The WNBA star has been caught in Russia since February.

– We are prepared to discuss the problem, however solely inside the communication window established between Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden. There is a particular channel established by the President and, regardless of some public statements, it’s nonetheless working – mentioned Lavrov, throughout a press convention throughout his go to to Cambodia.

Brittney Griner arrives in court docket – Photo: Reuters

A attainable prisoner alternate has been underneath dialogue for a number of weeks now. Russia denied the likelihood after the talks had been made public. The US authorities made an official proposal to the Russians that included the alternate of arms seller Viktor Bout Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US marine arrested on espionage fees in 2018.

Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in a US federal jail for “conspiring to promote weapons to individuals who need to kill Americans.” The Russian authorities expresses political motivation in condemning the “Merchant of Death,” as it’s recognized. It impressed the principle character of the film “Lord of Arms” starring Nicolas Cage in 2005.

Russian court docket discovered Brittney Griner responsible of drug trafficking with felony intent. After an extended trial, the decide determined the standing of the WNBA participant this Thursday. In the most recent verdict, the athlete was sentenced to 9 years in jail, as well as to a high-quality of 1 million rubles, which is about R$85,650.

+ Who is Brittney Griner and why was she arrested in Russia
+ NBA, WNBA criticize Griner’s conviction: ‘Unjustifiable’

The Russian Prosecutor’s Office requested a nine-and-a-half-year jail sentence for Griner. After the ultimate verdict was learn, nearly the utmost sentence was decided for the participant. According to the decide, he may have to serve his sentence in a Russian penal colony. He mentioned Griner’s protection will protest the decision.

– We are very disillusioned with the decision. As legal professionals, we consider that the court docket must be honest to everybody, no matter nationality. The court docket utterly rejected all of the proof of the protection and particularly the guilt.

Brittney Griner — Photo: The Washington Post by way of Getty Images

At trial, Griner said that he had no intention of trafficking medicine to Russia. Since 2014, he has represented UMMC Yekaterinburg throughout WNBA offseasons. According to him, the medical marijuana can be to deal with his continual accidents.

– I made an sincere mistake. And I hope, by your legal guidelines, my life won’t finish right here,” Griner mentioned.

Biden says the ruling is “unacceptable.”

US President Joe Biden launched an announcement shortly after the decision. According to the authority, Griner’s sentence is “unacceptable”.

– Today, US citizen Brittney Griner was sentenced to jail, one other reminder of what the world already is aware of: Russia is maintaining Brittney within the fallacious. This is unacceptable, and I’m telling Russia to launch him instantly so he could be along with his spouse, family members, mates and teammates. My administration will proceed to work tirelessly and pursue each alternative to convey Brittney and Paul Whelan (a US citizen arrested on espionage fees in 2018) safely residence as quickly as attainable.

On March 5, 2022, the Russian Federal Customs Department introduced that in February it detained a US athlete at Sheremetyevo Airport, outdoors Moscow. It would carry the liquid spinoff of hashish, which is allowed in nearly all US territories, however banned in Russia. The athlete in query was WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Griner has been in custody ever since and a felony case has been opened for drug trafficking and worldwide trafficking. According to the assertion of the customs service, a felony case was opened for “large-scale transportation of medication”. The penalty for such circumstances could be up to ten years in jail.

Why was Griner in Russia?

Phoenix Mercury athlete Brittney – in addition to different US athletes – usually play within the Russian League in the course of the months the WNBA is on hiatus. Griner has performed for native groups since 2015 and sometimes earns greater than $1 million a season, which he values ​​above what he earns within the American competitors itself. The final official match in Yekaterinburg was on January 29.

In early July, BG pleaded responsible however denied it was intentional. The assertion pivots after he wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden to step up US efforts to return residence.

“As I sit right here in a Russian jail, alone with my ideas and with out the safety of my spouse, household, mates, Olympic uniforms or any achievements, I’m scared that I might be right here eternally,” Griner mentioned. the letter addressed to the White House launched by their representatives.

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