A Russian court on Thursday sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling, after Russia made a negative faith reaction to a U.S. offer for a prisoner swap, according to the White House.
Griner also must pay an excellent of 1 million rubles.
The Russian court argued Griner completed the crime deliberately, in its ruling, in accordance with Reuters.
During closing arguments, Griner said she wished to apologize to her teammates, her club, fans and her family for the mistake that I made, adding she never designed to break any laws or put the Russian population in danger.
The ruling comes weekly after Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed Russias Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to simply accept a deal to swap Griner and Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia on espionage charges, in trade for Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout, a deal Russia has reportedly tried to amend to include a former colonel from Russias domestic spy agency convicted of murder.
Griners lawyers have argued she unintentionally packed the vape cartridges during a rush and uses cannabis for medical purposes.
Griners agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas tweeted the sentencing was severe by Russian legal standards and proves she actually is used as a political pawn.
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In a statement, President Joe Biden said Russias punishment was unacceptable and called on the united states release a her immediately, saying he’ll continue steadily to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to create Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as quickly as possible.
I made a genuine mistake and I am hoping that in your ruling, that it doesnt end my entire life here, Griner said to summarize arguments. I understand everybody keeps discussing political pawn and politics, but I am hoping that that’s definately not this courtroom.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who was simply detained at the airport after vape cartridges with cannabis oil were allegedly within her luggage, pleaded guilty to drug charges on July 7. Her attorneys have argued she didn’t plan to break regulations, showing proof her approval for medical marijuana used in the U.S. All usage of cannabis is illegal in Russia. Griner testified prior to the court for the very first time the other day, saying she had not been read her rights after being arrested, had not been offered a lawyer and was forced to sign papers with out a translation. After pleas from Griner, her wife along with other prominent figures, including NBA star Lebron James, U.S. officials announced the other day that they had proposed a prisoner swap in trade for Griner, reportedly offering Boutwho has been serving a 25-year jail sentencein exchange for Griner and Whelan, a former marine who was simply arrested in Moscow in 2018. Bout, who has been dubbed the Merchant of Death,” supplied an incredible number of Soviet-era arms and ammunition to militias and terror groups all over the world.
The other day John Kirby, the National Security Councils coordinator for strategic communications, called Russias proceed to make an effort to add another Russian prisoner to the swap a negative faith try to avoid an extremely serious offer, on CNN.
Russian prosecutors seek 9 1/2-year sentence for Griner (Associated Press)