A Russian judge on Thursday found American basketball star Britney Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling, and sentenced her to nine years in prison.
Judge Anna Sotnikova said the time Griner has been in custody since her arrest in February will count toward her sentence.
Greiner reacted to the words with little emotion. She listened to her verdict from the defendant’s cage and stared blankly into her face.
While reviewing evidence and giving her findings on Thursday, the judge said the 31-year-old Griner illegally brought drugs into Russia.
Griner appealed to the court before the unusually quick verdict was announced. When she flew to Moscow in February to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg, she said she had no intention of breaking the law by bringing cannabis oil-filled vape cartridges into the country.
Attention is now focused on the possibility of a high-stakes prisoner exchange proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Brinken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Under the proposed deal, Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on espionage convictions, will be released.
Russian officials remain poker-faced about a potential deal, irritated by US statements on the matter, and discussing a potential deal through “quiet diplomacy without disclosing speculative information.” it should be done.
US President Joe Biden released a statement on the verdict referring to Griner as having been “wrongfully detained.”
“Today, American citizen Britney Griner was sentenced to prison. This is another reminder of what the world already knew: Russia was unlawfully detaining Britney. This is unacceptable and I urge Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her beloved wife: people, friends, teammates,” Biden said.
Reported by Associated Press.
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Britney Griner Convicted and Sentenced to Nine Years by Russian Judge
Source link Britney Griner Convicted and Sentenced to Nine Years by Russian Judge