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Brittney Griner sentenced to nine years in Russian jail over drug charges

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www.gaytimes.co.uk

US basketball player Brittney Griner has been found guilty of drug possession and smuggling with criminal intent by a Russian court.

The court sentenced Griner to nine years in a penal colony and fined the star a million rubles – approximately $16,300. According to The New York Times, the queer athlete’s defence described the verdict as “absolutely unreasonable” and said they “will certainly file an appeal”.

Griner was detained back in February after authorities found cannabis oil in her luggage. Her lawyers later submitted a letter from a US medical centre that permitted Griner to use medical cannabis in order to combat her “chronic pain”. “On May 18, 2020, Brittney Griner underwent a clinical examination… The patient complained of acute chronic pain due to multiple ankle injuries, as well as injuries and pain sustained during her sports career,” the letter said. “The patient complained of pain in the middle back, lower back, knees and ankle pain.” Griner’s team put forward a written testimony from the doctor and character witnesses from her Russian team, Yekaterinburg, who she played for during the WNBA offseason.

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