The case of Brittany Griner, a talented player for the American women’s basketball team, has become entangled in the protracted standoff between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She was informed of her fate today by a Russian judge who was in charge of her drug case after the professional athlete was found in possession of marijuana at a Moscow airport.
Based on Fox News,
“WNBA star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison after she was found guilty of drug possession and drug smuggling by a Russian judge on Thursday.”
“She was also fined 1 million rubles.”
“Russian prosecutors asked the court to hand Griner a 9.5-year prison sentence. The defense then started its arguments. Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.”
A sorry Griner made an apology prior to her sentence:
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them. I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”
Griner added, “Hope in your ruling it does not end my life,” to her apology before learning she would be given a nine-year prison term in Russia.
After hearing about Griner’s lengthy sentence, Biden also spoke, refusing to assist in the rescue of the American citizen who many believe is suffering as a result of the United States’ support for the Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
President Joe Biden on Thursday said the nine-year sentence handed down to WNBA star Brittney Griner by a Russian court for drug smuggling is “unacceptable.”
“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” Biden claimed in a statement.
“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible,” he stated.
Griner was given a nine-year prison term and a fine of 1 million rubles ($16,400), according to the Russian court, which found that she committed the crime on purpose. Griner was detained on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport with less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.
According to The New York Times:
A Russian court on Thursday found the American basketball star Brittney Griner guilty of an attempt to smuggle illegal narcotics into Russia and sentenced her to nine years in a penal colony, according to her lawyers. The verdict ended a closely watched trial that her supporters say made her a pawn in a tense geopolitical showdown over the war in Ukraine.
The verdict, virtually preordained in a legal system in which defendants are rarely acquitted, leaves Ms. Griner’s fate subject to diplomatic bargaining between Russia and the United States. The countries have been discussing the possibility of a prisoner exchange that would bring Ms. Griner home from Russia, where she has been detained since traveling there in mid-February.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
Griner’s defense team called the verdict “absolutely unreasonable” and said “we will certainly file an appeal.” The team — Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin, and Alexander Boykov, of Moscow Legal Center — said the court had “completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea.” CONTINUE READING…