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    Brittney Griner Appeals Russian Drug Conviction

    Brittney Griner’s defense team has appealed the drug charges she faced in Russia. It has been two weeks since she completed her nine-year sentence in a Russian jail. The accusation against her involved an alleged attempt to bring vape cartridges containing hash oil through a Russian airport in February.

    The appeal is expected to be resolved within the next three months.

    In the meantime, the United States and Russia have discussed a potential prisoner swap. Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan have suggested exchanging them for Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer. The New York Times reports that Brittney’s legal team is open to withdrawing the appeal if it expedites the exchange process.

    Viktor Bout is currently in a United States prison, serving a 25-year sentence. He has been dubbed the “Merchant of Death.” Russia has not indicated any willingness to accept the offer.

    “The discussion about exchanging Russian and American prisoners has been ongoing through the channels established by the two presidents,” stated diplomat Aleksandr Darchiev.

    The WNBA star admitted to the charges, claiming it was an “honest mistake.” Cannabis is illegal in Russia, making it a prohibited substance.

    Moreover, the United States claims that Brittney Griner was unjustly arrested. Darchiev also acknowledges Russia’s longstanding desire for Viktor Bout’s release but insists that the specifics should be handled by professionals, following the principle of avoiding harm. Attorneys state that defendants in similar cases typically receive shorter sentences around five years, and a third of them are granted parole.

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