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Basketballer Brittney Griner Faces 10 Years In Prison After Pleading Guilty To Drugs Charges

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Basketballer Brittney Griner Faces 10 Years In Prison After Pleading Guilty To Drugs Charges

Basketball star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drugs charges and faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Arrested back in February at a Russian airport after police allegedly found cannabis oil cartridges in her luggage, the 31-year-old basketball player pleaded guilty today (7 July).

Clutching a picture of her wife Cherelle, Griner claimed there was 'no intent' behind her actions and told the court she would be pleading guilty to the charges against her.

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She said she 'didn't want to break the law' as she pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession and drug smuggling.

Her trial began on 1 July, with the next hearing for the case due to be held on 14 July.

Brittney Griner was pictured being led towards court for her trial in Russia. Credit: Shutterstock
Brittney Griner was pictured being led towards court for her trial in Russia. Credit: Shutterstock

There is growing pressure on the US government to do a deal which gets Griner out of potentially spending up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

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Supporters of the sports star are calling for a prisoner swap to return her to American soil in exchange for a Russian prisoner.

US president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris have told Cherelle they are working to get her wife released.

Reverend Al Sharpton has promised to fly to Russia to visit Griner, who had been in the country to play basketball during the US off-season.

He said: "We need to go face to face to make sure that she's all right.

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"We cannot sit by and ignore the fact that she has been marginalised and we cannot explain why. We want to see that she is safe and we want to make sure that the government of the United States maker her a priority."

The basketballer was holding a picture of her wife as official led her away in handcuffs. Credit: Shutterstock
The basketballer was holding a picture of her wife as official led her away in handcuffs. Credit: Shutterstock

However, Russian officials have said it would be 'difficult' to swap prisoners and that the 'hype' around her case doesn't help.

While she was only carrying 0.7 grams of THC in a pair of vape pods, that was apparently enough for the basketball star to be arrested on drug charges.

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A guilty verdict was likely to always be on the cards as fewer than one percent of defendants in Russia are acquitted.

Even if she had been found not guilty, the Russian government is able to overturn any verdict and send the accused to prison regardless of the trial verdict.

Her wife has claimed 6ft9 tall Brittney has been forced into a 'very, very, very tiny cage' each time she has appeared before the Russian court.

Russian media has speculated that if a prisoner swap is used to secure Griner's safe passage back to the US then it could mean the release of an arms trader dubbed 'the merchant of death'.

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Viktor Bout is serving a 25-year sentence after being convicted of conspiracy to kill US citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organisation.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: News, Russia, Drugs

Joe Harker
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