US basketball star's defence team appeals conviction in Russia

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US basketball star's defence team appeals conviction in Russia

MOSCOW: The defence team of Brittney Griner, a United States basketball star jailed for nine years in Russia on drugs charges, appealed on Monday against her conviction for narcotics possession and trafficking.

Griner was convicted on Aug 4 in a verdict that US President Joe Biden called unacceptable Washington has said she was wrongfully detained and has offered to exchange her for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US.

Monday was the deadline for Griner to contest the verdict. Maria Blagovolina, partner at Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners law firm, told Reuters the appeal had been filed but declined to comment further.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who had played for a Russian club, was arrested on February 17 at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after cannabis-infused vape cartridges were found in her luggage.

She pleaded guilty to the charges but said she had not meant to break the law. I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling, it doesn't end my life here, Griner told the court at Khimki, near Moscow, at her sentencing.

It wasn't clear how soon an appeal would be heard.