Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison on drug charges

cigaretteman

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A Russian judge on Thursday handed down a harsh nine-year prison sentence for WNBA star Brittney Griner, rejecting the player’s plea for leniency and her apology for “an honest mistake” in bringing less than a gram of cannabis oil into the country in February.
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The sentence — close to the maximum possible — is likely to fuel anger among the athlete’s supporters and fans in the United States, who see her as a political pawn being held hostage by Russia. It will add to pressure on the Biden administration to reach a deal with Moscow on a prisoner exchange to bring her home.

Her fate is now in the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will make the final decision on any prisoner swap. She also was fined 1 million rubles ($16,590).

Griner pleaded guilty last month to carrying vape cartridges with cannabis oil into the country. The prosecution contended that the 0.702 grams of cannabis found in her luggage after she landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport was a “significant amount.”

Speaking through a court interpreter before the sentencing, Griner said she never intended to break Russian law or harm anyone in Russia.
She’d made “an honest mistake under stress,” she said, rushing to pack her bags and return to her Russian team, unaware that the vape cartridges were in her baggage before flying to Moscow in mid-February.
“I grew up in a normal household in Houston, Texas, with my siblings and my mom and my dad. My mom stayed at home to care of me and my sister, and my father went to work and provided for our family,” she told the judge. “My parents taught me two things: One is to take ownership for your responsibilities, and two, to work hard for everything that you have.”

Griner, who plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason, called Yekaterinburg her “second home.” She said she was moved by the comradeship she found with her teammates there and by the enthusiasm of her fans, especially the young girls who would wait outside the team’s change rooms to greet her. “That’s why I kept coming back.”


The athlete apologized to her teams in Russia and the United States, to her parents and her spouse. She said she was aware of people talking about her as “a political pawn” but distanced herself from such language and said she hoped it would play no role in the court’s decision.
“I never meant to hurt anybody, to put in jeopardy the Russian population or violate any Russian laws,” she noted.

A short time later, as the judge read through her sentencing, Griner sat in the metal defendant’s cage in the courtroom and listened to the outcome through an interpreter. She did not speak to journalists after the hearing ended. Her lawyers promised an appeal and called the verdict “absolutely unreasonable,” saying the court “completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea.”


The White House reacted quickly. “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”
Biden pledged that his administration would “continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue” to return Griner and former security consultant Paul Whelan to the United States. Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence of hard labor after being convicted of spying in 2020. He says he was framed.

 

Masterprime

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onlyTheObvious

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Traveling abroad isn’t something to be taken lightly.

scary. I could easily see somebody planting drugs on somebody to cause issues like this.

we go from “don’t check any bags” to “bring nothing but the clothes you are wearing”.

almost need a pre screening area before customs.
 

beanerhawk

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That's ridiculous but that's why you don't take any risks going to other countries, especially there. She's hosed they aren't letting her come back anytime soon.
 

ozzyrulz

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Made a terrible mistake. Sadly she won’t get a verbal warning in the Soviet Union. Mary Jane, gummies and vape laws for medical issues should be more forgiving and stricter laws for hard drugs.
 

Fsanford

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Okay she has an agent, WNBA is affiliated with the NBA, how is it that they don't sit these people down and review fundamental laws and customs. If it is a medical requirement both the league and agent damn well knew she was using it.

I have traveled to over 50 countries, I always get an understanding of local laws and customs so I don't piss the wrong people. And there are some crazy ones like not showing the bottom of your shoe if you cross your leg, or not shake hands with a certain hand.

Its unfortunate but for pete's sake be smart about going to other countries. The fact she is a quasi celebrity even more important.
 
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TJ8869

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You guys know our jails and prisons are full of people who did the same thing, right? What is the right amount of time to imprison a person for marijuana possession?
I don’t know of a single person who has spent 9 years in an American prison for nothing more than having a small amount of hash oil in their possession.
 
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Tfxchawk

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Well when you have an inept leader that negotiates so eagerly and quickly this is what happens. This is leverage from Russia to apply pressure on people that were offering the moon before anything was really known.
 
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JMNSHO

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I don’t know of a single person who has spent 9 years in an American prison for nothing more than having a small amount of hash oil in their possession.
She hasn’t spent 9 years in prison yet. There are plenty of people in prison for pot in the USA. What is the right amount of time in prison for Marijuana possession?
 
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HawkeyeShawn

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You guys know our jails and prisons are full of people who did the same thing, right? What is the right amount of time to imprison a person for marijuana possession?
No, they are not. The stories you are referring to are usually plea deals or they only charge they can make stick on a criminal the policy and DA feel needs to be behind bars. Have there been some cases, yes, but say our prisons are “full” of the same thing is a blatant lie.

In the US, I’d say zero months is the right amount of time for possession of marijuana, unless it’s being trafficked for distribution in larger amounts. However, in this situation, it’s a foreign country. The law, in most of our opinion sucks and is unfair. However in Russia, where it’s not a republic or democracy, the law is what it is. Follow it or face the consequences. Try being a drug dealer in the Philippines and let me know what you think of the penalties there. Sure we don’t like it or think it’s fair, but it’s NOT OUR COUNTRY.
 

TunzaHawk

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Near the Big Eddy
She won’t serve 9 years. Russia will someday again want to be able to attract world class athletes to public events in Moscow or St Petersburg. Griner sitting in Prison will act as a deterrent to any top athlete competing there.
 
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Tfxchawk

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No, they are not. The stories you are referring to are usually plea deals or they only charge they can make stick on a criminal the policy and DA feel needs to be behind bars. Have there been some cases, yes, but say our prisons are “full” of the same thing is a blatant lie.

In the US, I’d say zero months is the right amount of time for possession of marijuana, unless it’s being trafficked for distribution in larger amounts. However, in this situation, it’s a foreign country. The law, in most of our opinion sucks and is unfair. However in Russia, where it’s not a republic or democracy, the law is what it is. Follow it or face the consequences. Try being a drug dealer in the Philippines and let me know what you think of the penalties there. Sure we don’t like it or think it’s fair, but it’s NOT OUR COUNTRY.
This story sort of blows up your claim. Let me know when he is released

 

23 so far

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kcnole63

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That's 5 years less than the sentence for the teacher. You know, the teacher that the US (the last I heard) still isn't trying to get released.

The bad behavior of Russia aside, why is a basketball player more important to the US than a teacher?
She should not get special preference. While the sentence is unfair and excessive, she took the risk and it cost her. Bottom line: stay away from Russia. I never had any desire to go there before they invaded Ukraine, so I definitely would not go there now. I would think that Russia's tourism industry is in the tank right now.