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US Women’s NBA basketball player Brittney Griner shakes hands with her lawyer Alexander Boykov (right) next to Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Moscow Elizabeth Rood before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, August 4, 2022. — AFP pic

Thursday, 04 Aug 2022 8:45 PM MYT

KHIMKI, Aug 4 — Russian prosecutors today requested that US basketball star Brittney Griner be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on drug smuggling charges.

“I ask the court to find Griner guilty and sentence her to nine years and six months in prison,” prosecutor Nikolay Vlasenko said.

He also requested a fine of one million rubles (RM74,000) for the 31-year-old athlete, AFP reported from court in the town of Khimki just outside Moscow.

Griner has been charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil that were found in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

Vlasenko said Griner “deliberately” proceeded through the green corridor at customs and stated she had nothing to declare “in order to conceal” the substance.

The two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Women’s NBA champion who had played in Russia, was detained in February, just days before Moscow launched its military intervention in Ukraine.

Griner pleaded guilty to the charges, but said she did not intend to break the law or use the banned substance in Russia. — AFP