Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison

Brittney Griner

Basketball player Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to drug smuggling charges in Russia.

The 31-year-old player, who is a part of the LGBTIQA+ communities, was detained in Mid-February after Russian authorities alleged she had been found with vape cartridges contained hashish oil.

The maximum sentence for the crime is 10 years in prison, and prosecutors had asked the court to impose a nine and a half year jail term. Judge Anna Sotnikova also fined Griner a million rubles (AUD$23,900).

Griner is a top player in the US WNBL and has played on the USA’s Olympic winning Basketball team. She was travelling to Russia to play with a local team during the WNBL off-season.

The US government has indicated it may negotiate a prisoner-swap with Russian authorities to return Griner to the USA.

President Joe Biden released a statement following the sentencing saying the sports star was being wrongfully detained.

“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.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Griner has previously written to the US President asking for his assistance, while her wife Cherelle has also made representations.

OIP Staff

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