WNBA star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian jail for drug-smuggling – CNN
Griner, 31, remained stone-faced upon hearing the verdict, and told reporters: “I love my family.”
After Griner’s sentencing, the White House released a statement condemning the outcome of the drug trial. The statement also called on Russia to release Griner and Paul Whelan.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that the US was still open to having its proposal considered, and that negotiations were continuing.
Griner’s lawyer said her client was “disheartened” by the verdict and planned to appeal. She said the sentence did not match the act committed and went against legal precedent.
At Thursday’s hearing, Griner acknowledged her “mistake” and pleaded for leniency, saying she made the mistake while under stress and trying to get back to her team.
Kirby said that foreigners arrested on drug charges in Russia tend to get much higher sentences than Russian citizens.
Brittney Griner, an American basketball superstar and Olympic gold medalist, pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined one million rubles.
Griner inadvertently brought cannabis cartridges to Russia, but insisted she did not plan to use them there. Her lawyers presented character witnesses and a doctor’s note claiming she used cannabis for pain treatment.
A prosecutor argued that Griner packed the cannabis oil deliberately, and Griner’s lawyer said they would do everything possible to get her freed.
Russian officials have scoffed at US statements about the case, saying they’ve shown disrespect for Russian law. The US has offered to free Griner, but Moscow has made a counteroffer that US officials don’t regard as serious.
The judge read the maximum sentence, which was nine years in prison. The time served behind bars will be included in the overall term. This was her reaction:
The president called on Russia to release American citizen Brittney Griner immediately and said his administration would continue to work tirelessly to bring her home.
For more details on this case, consider the news outlets listed below.
- WNBA star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian jail for drug-smuggling CNN
- Brittney Griner trial: Russian court hands down verdict, sentence in WNBA star’s case Fox News
- Brittney Griner Is Sentenced to 9 Years in a Russian Penal Colony The New York Times
- See Brittney Griner’s reaction as sentence is read CNN
- Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years for cannabis possession, smuggling in Russia New York Post
- View Full Coverage on Google News