KRASNOGORSK, Russia (Reuters) – A lawyer for U.S. WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner on Tuesday told judges hearing her appeal that her nine-year jail sentence for possession and smuggling of drugs in the form of a vape cartridge was excessive, and asked the court to acquit her.
“The punishment imposed on Griner does not correspond to the gravity of the crime,” Maria Blagovolina said. “Nine years in prison is a sentence that contradicts judicial practice.”
“There was no intent in her actions … The substance was used for medical purposes.”
Three judges were presiding over the court in Krasnogorsk near Moscow, while Griner was taking part via video link from a detention centre in the town of Novoye Grishino, just outside Moscow.
(Reporting by Filipp Lebedev and Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)