Brittney Griner sentenced
MOSCOW — Brittney Griner sentenced to nine years in Russian prison, A Russian court has found Brittney Griner guilty on drug smuggling and possession charges.
The widely expected verdict comes after a monthlong trial and nearly six months after the basketball star was arrested at a Moscow-area airport with cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage.
She was also fined 1 million Russian rubles, which is just over $16,000
The judge sentenced Griner to nine years in prison. Her charges lasted for up to 10 years, and Russian prosecutors requested a prison sentence of nine years and six months in a penal colony.
Prosecutors were seeking 9.5 years in prison for Griner. The verdict comes after a month-long trial.
“Today, American citizen Britney Greiner received a prison sentence and is another reminder of what the world already knows: Russia is unjustly holding Britney,” President Biden said in a statement.
“It is unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so that she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates.
The Biden administration, under public pressure to secure her release, attempted to negotiate with Russia for her release as well as another imprisoned American, Paul Whelan.
Russia has said any potential deal – including rumors of a prisoner exchange that could lead to the release of notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout – would have to wait until the court’s ruling.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken echoed that pledge in his own statement, saying the court’s decision “highlights our grave concerns about the Russian legal system and the Russian government’s use of unlawful detentions to advance its own agenda, using individuals as political pawns.”
“Russia and any country that practices unlawful detention poses a threat to the safety of everyone who travels, works and lives abroad,” Blinken added.
The United States opposes this practice everywhere.”
Greiner was arrested at Moscow airport in February for having cartridges of vaping with cannabis oil in her luggage in February.
During closing arguments on Wednesday, more than six months after her original arrest, the 31-year-old WNBA star told the judge that she “never intended to break any law.”
“I know everyone keeps talking about ‘political pawn’ and ‘politics,’ but I hope it’s out of this courtroom,” Greiner said while addressing the court on Wednesday.