The Russian Justice declared American basketball player Brittney Griner this Thursday guilty of possession and smuggling of drugs, for which she has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Griner is guilty of “illegal possession and introduction of narcotics through customs,” the judge Anna Sotnikova ruled.
At first, the judge did not reveal the athlete’s conviction, although the Prosecutor’s Office asked this Thursday for nine and a half years in prison for the defendant, who was arrested last February at a Moscow airport with cannabis oil in her suitcase.
Griner, 31, had admitted her “mistake” today, but also asked for mercy during the hearing held at the Khimki urban court in the Moscow region.
“I made an unintentional mistake and I hope the mistake doesn’t end my life”, she said.
While the prosecutor considered that “the guilt of Brittney Griner has been fully proven”, the defense requested her acquittal or, failing that, the least possible prison sentence.
Russian legislation punishes the crime allegedly committed by the American, who is 2.06 meters tall and plays for the Russian team UMMC in Yekaterinburg, with a maximum of ten years in prison.
The US government considers that the basketball player’s arrest when crossing the border with cannabis oil was “wrong” and demands her immediate release, like many NBA and WNBA stars.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blink, proposed last week to his Russian colleague, Sergey Lavrov, the exchange of Griner and Paul Whelan, sentenced to 16 years for espionage, for the “merchant of death”, Viktor Bout, serving 25 years in jail in an American prison.
Recently, the White House rejected the “opponent” of Russia, who wanted to include a second Russian prisoner in the exchange, the Chechen Vadím Krásikov, as reported by CNN.