Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was simply arrested at a Moscow airport in February, was convicted on charges of drug smuggling and possession in a Russian court on Thursday and sentenced to nine years in a penal colonyone year significantly less than the maximum on her behalf crime of transporting significantly less than one gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.
In your final plea for leniency, Griner, who pleaded guilty to drug charges last month, said in court Thursday that she never designed to devote jeopardy the Russian population rather than designed to break Russian laws. I made a genuine mistake and I am hoping that in your ruling that it doesnt end my entire life here, she said. I understand everybody keeps discussing political pawn and politics, but I am hoping that that’s definately not this courtroom. I wish to say again that I had no intent [to break] any Russian laws. I did so not conspire or intend to commit this crime. Griners lawyer has argued that she was prescribed medical marijuana in Arizona but had no intention of deploying it in Russia.
The U.S. STATE DEPT. has accused Russia of wrongfully detaining Griner, while supporters of the two-time Olympic gold medalist claim she actually is used as a political pawn amid rising tensions between Russia and the West. Her arrest occurred one week ahead of Russias attack on Ukraine. Within an interest Joe Biden last month, Cherelle Griner, the wife of the Phoenix Mercury star, said that her spouse has been used as a political pawn, adding, If theyre holding her since they want one to do something, i quickly want one to take action.
The other day, the Biden administration did propose a prisoner swap, offering release a Viktor Bout, an infamous Russian arms trafficker nicknamed the Merchant of Death, in trade for Griner and Paul Whelan, a U.S. national who was simply detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 and arrested on espionage charges. Russian negotiators presented a counter offer, that your White House dismissed as a negative faith try to steer clear of the deal up for grabs, according to Bloomberg News.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously described the Biden administrations offer as substantial and said that U.S. and Russian authorities have communicated repeatedly and on that proposal, and Ill utilize the conversation to check out up personally. The Kremlin, because of its part, has stated that the talks should remain discrete, withKremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stating Tuesday that megaphone diplomacy and public exchange of positions won’t result in results here.