MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. The defense team of US basketball player Brittney Griner, convicted in Russia to nine years in prison for drug smuggling, has appealed against her sentence, her lawyer Maria Blagovolina told TASS on Monday.
"Brittney Griner’s defense team has filed an appeal against the Khimki City Court’s ruling," she said.
On August 4, the Moscow Region’s Khimki City Court sentenced Griner to nine years in a penal colony. She was found guilty under Article 228.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal acquisition, storage, transportation, or possession of narcotic drugs without intent to sell) and Article 229.1.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (significant drug smuggling). The fact that Griner had pleaded guilty, and her sporting achievements were taken into account as mitigating factors, and the period of pre-trial custody was applied to her sentence for time already served.
Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for attempting to smuggle hashish oil into Russia. She pleaded guilty, but said that she had put the hashish oil into her bag in a hurry and had no criminal intent. As a member of the US women’s national team, Griner won gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships, as well as at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Before her arrest, she played for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg team.