c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a American Basketball Star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in prison in Russia for drug smuggling
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American Basketball Star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in prison in Russia for drug smuggling

Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in prison in Russia for drug smuggling

A judge in Russia has sentenced American basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison after finding her guilty of drug possession and trafficking charges.

Judge Anna Sotnikova said the two-time Olympic champion who has been in custody after being arrested in February will be taken into account in sentencing.

Summarising the evidence and presenting her conclusions on Thursday, the judge said the 31-year-old player illegally smuggled drugs into Russia.

Prior to the reading of a verdict that was processed with unusual speed, Griner apologized to the court. He said he had no intention of breaking Russian law by carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil with him when he flew to Moscow in February to play for the Yekaterinburg city team.

Griner reacted impassively. The WNBA star listened to the verdict with a lost look.

The Griner case has reached the highest levels of US-Russian diplomacy, with Washington proposing a prisoner swap.

President Joe Biden says Brittney Griner's verdict is unacceptable and Russia must release her immediately.

President Joe Biden released a statement on Brittney Griner's verdict is yet another reminder of what the world already knew : Russia is detaining Brittney unfairly." “It is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates. My government will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every avenue possible to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as quickly as possible".

Attorney General Merrick Garland said that “Mrs. Griner was illegally detained, but beyond that, I can't really comment."

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said that “she should never have been tried in the first place. Therefore, there should be no sentence… We will continue to insist as we must to have consular access to Ms. Griner so we can make sure we can maintain that communication.”

On a possible prisoner exchange with the Russians, Admiral Kirby said that “we have made a serious offer to the Russians to try to get Brittney and Paul Whelan home where they belong. And we urge the Russians to seriously consider this proposal to act on it.”


Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).She played college basketball for the Baylor Lady Bears in Waco, Texas.She is the only NCAA basketball player to both score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. In 2012, the three-time All-American was named the AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

In 2009, Griner was named the nation's No. 1 high school women's basketball player by Rivals.com. She was selected to the 2009 Phoenix Mercury All-American basketball team. In 2012, she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award. In 2013, Griner signed an endorsement deal with Nike. Standing 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) tall, Griner wears a men's U.S. size 17 shoe and has an arm span of 87.5 in (222 cm).

Griner was on the United States women's Olympic team in 2016, and led them to victory at the Rio Olympics. In 2020, Griner protested the Star Spangled Banner and stated she wouldn't be on the court while the national anthem was played during game openers. In 2021, Griner was named to the United States women's national team for the 2020 Olympics, where she won her second gold medal.

Griner is one of 11 women to receive an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA championship, a FIBA World Cup gold medal and a WNBA championship.

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