Brittney Griner gets 9 years in prison in Russia; Biden requests her release immediately, Brittney Griner, a famous player in the WNBA, was found guilty of bringing illegal narcotics into Russia and was sentenced to nine years in jail on Thursday by a court in Russia.
At the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow on February 17, Griner was apprehended after it was discovered that she had vape cartridges with hashish oil concealed within her luggage. The district attorney’s office contended that the 0.720 grams of cannabis that were discovered in Griner’s suitcase constituted a “substantial amount.”
Griner confirmed that she carried the prohibited narcotics to Russia, but she claimed that she accidentally packed the vape cartridges when she traveled to Russia to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball club.
Griner entered a guilty plea in court but insisted that she did not have any malicious intent when she brought the illegal narcotics into Russia. The basketball player acknowledged that she had “made an honest error.”
Maria Blagovolina, Griner’s attorney, argued that her client hastily packaged the cannabis oil and stressed the fact that the state of Arizona permits the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko alleged that Griner purposefully smuggled cannabis oil into the country in her luggage.
When Griner was about to be sentenced, she addressed the judge and said, “I hope in your verdict it does not terminate my life.”
Griner was given the following sentence by Judge Anna Sotnikova: nine years in a Russian correctional colony. In addition, the Russian judge punished the Women’s National Basketball Association player for 1 million rubles, which is equivalent to around $16,700 USD.
Regarding the conviction of Griner, Vice President Joe Biden has delivered a comment.
Vice President Joe Biden declared, “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison term that is one more indication of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.” It’s completely wrong, and I’m calling on Russia to free her right away so that she may be with her wife, her loved ones, her friends, and her teammates.
President Biden summed up his remarks by saying that “my government will continue to work relentlessly and seek every possible option” in an effort to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home securely as quickly as possible.
Paul Whelan, an American who served in the Marines and was later convicted of spying for Russia, was sentenced to life in prison.
Since the detention of the 31-year-old Phoenix Mercury center in Russia, the Biden administration has been making efforts to have her released. In an effort to secure Griner’s release, the Biden administration has even floated the idea of conducting a prisoner exchange with Russia.
Over the course of the past week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explored the possibility of a prisoner swap.
Washington made a proposal for a prisoner swap in which Russia would release Griner and Whelan in exchange for the release of convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout. Bout is a former Soviet military officer and KGB agent. Griner and Whelan would be released in exchange for Bout. Bout was a major international arms trafficker who gained notoriety under the alias “Merchant of Death.” The narrative of Bout was adapted into a film titled “Lord of War” which was released in 2005 and starred Nicolas Cage.
On Monday, the press secretary for the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, stated that Moscow had responded to the offer made by Washington in “poor faith.” Jean-Pierre expressed his opinion that the counteroffer was “not serious.”
Jean-Pierre stated that they were “obviously not going to negotiate from here.” I am not going to get into any exact specifics at this time.