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Russian Court Jails US Basketball Star For Nine Years Over Drug Smuggling

A Russian court on Thursday found US basketball star Brittney Griner guilty of smuggling and storing drugs and sentenced her to nine years in prison, IgbereTV reports.

The court “found the defendant guilty” of smuggling and possessing “a significant amount of narcotics”, judge Anna Sotnikova told a court in the town of Khimki just outside Moscow.

Sotnikova sentenced Griner, 31, to nine years in prison and said she would also have to pay a fine of one million rubles ($16,590).

The six-foot-nine (2.06 metres) star was detained at a Moscow airport in February after she was found carrying vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage. The arrest came just days before Moscow launched its military intervention in Ukraine.

Prosecutors had earlier requested the two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Women’s NBA champion be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on drug smuggling charges.

Griner’s trial came with tensions soaring between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine that has sparked international condemnation and a litany of Western sanctions

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