The Russian court found Brittney Griner guilty of illegal drug trafficking with criminal intent. After a lengthy trial, the court ruled on the WNBA player’s status this Thursday. In the final verdict, the athlete was sentenced to nine years in prison, in addition to a fine of 1 million rubles, about 85,650 rubles. dollar.
+ Who is Britney Griner and why was she arrested in Russia?
+ NBA and WNBA criticize Greener’s conviction. “unjustifiable”
The Russian Prosecutor’s Office requested a nine and a half year prison sentence for Griner. After the final verdict was read, almost the maximum sentence was imposed on the player. According to the judge, he should serve his sentence in a penal colony in Russia. Greener’s defense said it would appeal the verdict.
– We are very disappointed by the verdict. As lawyers, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone, regardless of nationality. The court completely ignored all the defense evidence and, most importantly, the guilty plea.
Brittney Griner — Photo by The Washington Post via Getty Images
During the trial, Griner stated that he had no intention of transporting drugs to Russia. She has been defending UMMC Yekaterinburg since 2014 during the WNBA breaks. According to him, medical marijuana is supposed to treat his chronic injuries.
– I made an honest mistake. And I hope that with your laws you will not end my life here,” Griner said.
Biden said the verdict was ‘unacceptable’
US President Joe Biden issued a statement immediately after the verdict. According to the ruler, Griner’s verdict is “unacceptable”.
– Today, US citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence, which is another reminder of what the world already knows. Russia is treating Britney wrong. This is unacceptable and I am telling Russia to release him immediately so he can be with his wife, loved ones, friends and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every opportunity to bring Brittney and Paul Willner (a US citizen arrested on espionage charges in 2018) home safely as soon as possible.
On March 5, 2022, the Russian Federal Customs Department announced that it had arrested an American athlete at Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow in February. He would be carrying a liquid derivative of cannabis, which is legal in almost all of the US but is banned in Russia. We are talking about WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Greener has since been in custody and has been charged with drug trafficking and international trafficking. According to the report of the customs service, a criminal case was initiated on the grounds of “transportation of narcotics in particularly large quantities”. The punishment for such cases can reach ten years in prison.
Why was Griner in Russia?
Phoenix Mercury athlete Brittney, along with other athletes from the United States, often play in the Russian league during the months when the WNBA is on vacation. Griner has been playing for local teams since 2015 and typically earns more than a million dollars per season, which dwarfs what he earns in the American competition itself. His last official game in Yekaterinburg took place on January 29.
In early July, BG pleaded guilty, but denied it was intentional. The announcement came after the Axis wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden urging him to step up US efforts to bring him home.
“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic uniform or any achievements, I am terrified that I could be here forever,” Griner said in excerpts. The letter addressed to the White House, which was disclosed by their representatives.