/ 05 August 2022

Jail for basketball star

TOPSHOT - USA's Brittney Griner vies for the ball in the women's final basketball match between USA and Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on August 8, 2021. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - USA's Brittney Griner vies for the ball in the women's final basketball match between USA and Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on August 8, 2021. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Brittney Griner – the US women’s basketball player considered one of the best in the world – has been sentenced to 9 years in prison in Russia. She arrived in Moscow in February (just before Russia invaded Ukraine…) to play club basketball during the US off-season and was arrested on arrival because she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil with her. She admitted her “honest mistake” but has been convicted of smuggling and possessing narcotics, and her sentence is close to the maximum recommended by prosecutors. It’s unclear how long Griner will spend behind bars with the US and Russia discussing a potential prisoner swap that could see her returned to America in exchange for Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout – a guy known as the ‘Merchant of Death’. Her legal team say she will appeal the sentence that US President Joe Biden called “unacceptable”. As she was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, she said “I love my family.”

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