US basketball star brittney Griner appeals Russian conviction

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US basketball star brittney Griner appeals Russian conviction

Brittney Griner, a US basketball star jailed for nine years in Russia on drugs charges, has appealed against her conviction for narcotics possession and trafficking, her lawyer told Reuters on Monday.

Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Russian firm defending Ms Griner, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying the appeal was filed, but the grounds of the appeal weren't immediately clear.

After the conviction, Ms Blagovolina and co-counsel Alexander Boykov had said that the sentence was excessive, and defendants had received an average sentence of about five years, with about a third of them being granted parole.

Ms Griner, a well-known WNBA player and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was due to play in the American offseason for Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg.

She was arrested on February 17 at a Moscow airport after cannabis-infused vape cartridges were found in her luggage.

Ms Griner pleaded guilty to the charges, but said she had made an honest mistake by entering Russia with cannabis oil, which is illegal in the country. She was convicted on August 4.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the unusual step of revealing publicly in July that the US government had made a substantial proposal to bring Ms Griner home, along with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16 year sentence in Russia for espionage.