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    Brittney Griner Appeals Russian Drug Conviction

    Brittney Griner’s defense team has filed an appeal, going against the drug charges from Russia. Two weeks have gone by since her nine years in a Russian jail. She was accused of an attempt to smuggle vape cartridges containing hash oil through a Russian airport back in February.

    This appeal will likely take its course in the next three months.

    Meanwhile, the United States and Russia talked about a prisoner swap. Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan proposed a trade for a convicted arms dealer called Viktor Bout. According to The New York Times, Brittney’s legal team is willing to withdraw its appeal if it helps expedite the exchange.

    Viktor Bout is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States earning the name “Merchant of Death”. Russia hasn’t shown any sign of accepting the offer.

    “The discussion of the quite sensitive topic of prisoner exchange of Russian and American citizens has been ongoing along the channels set out by the two presidents,” said the diplomat  Aleksandr Darchiev.

    The WNBA star pleaded guilty to said charges, but said it was an “honest mistake”. Cannabis is a substance in which Russia is still illegal in the country.

    Furthermore, the United States states that Brittney Griner got wrongfully detained. Besides Darchiev mentions Russia has “long been seeking the release of Viktor Bout”. But said, “The details should be left to professionals, based on the principle of doing no harm.”  Attorneys say in similar cases defendants receive lesser sentences averaging five years, with the third part of them being released on parole.

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