US basketball star Brittney Griner found guilty in Russian drug-smuggling case


American WNBA star Brittney Griner was convicted in a Russian court Thursday of smuggling drugs with criminal intent, amid concerns she is being used as a political pawn in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Griner could face up to 10 years in jail for the charge, and prosecutors asked for 9.5 years in closing arguments. 

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Prior to the verdict, Griner apologized to the court and asked for leniency in an emotional speech.

“I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here,” Griner said in the Khimki city courthouse. “I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.

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“I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws. I had no intent. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime,” she added.

The verdict comes about six months after the 31-year-old was arrested at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian prosecutors of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

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Source : CNN

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