American basketball star Brittney Griner appeals against Russian prison sentence
Brittney Griner, the American basketball star sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia on charges of narcotics possession and trafficking, has challenged her conviction.
“The defense team of Brittney Griner has filed an appeal against the verdict of the Khimki Court,” Griner’s lawyers Marina Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov told Interfax in a statement on Monday, August 15.
Griner’s defense team has asked the court for an acquittal or to impose a punishment below the mandatory minimum. The date of the appeal hearing has yet to be announced.
Brittney Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February 2022 after a vape cartridge containing cannabis oil was found in her luggage. Moscow’s Khimki City Court found Griner guilty of the drugs charges on August 4, sentencing her to nine years in prison and fining her 1 million rubles (more than $16,000).
In late July, before the end of Griner’s trial, reports emerged that Russia and the U.S. were negotiating a potential swap that could involve Brittney Griner, former Marine Paul Whelan (another U.S. citizen imprisoned in Russia), and Russian national Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer imprisoned in the United States.
CNN later reported that Moscow was trying to add another Russian national to the exchange deal: Vadim Krasikov, a convicted assassin who is currently serving a life sentence in Germany.