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Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison



Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for bringing a marijuana pen into the country in February.

The WNBA star was found guilty of drug smuggling on Thursday by a judge who rejected her claim she accidentally brought the drugs in. Prosecutors had asked that she be jailed for nine-and-a-half years, six months less than the maximum of 10 years in prison. As she left court, Griner, 31, told journalists: ‘I love my family.’

Her attorneys say they have ten days to appeal the verdict and sentencing, and that the typical sentence handed down for such a crime is six years.

President Biden immediately denounced the sentence and claimed she was ‘wrongfully detained’  despite her pleading guilty. She said it was an ‘honest mistake’ and that the drugs must have ended up in her bag ‘by accident’.

In a statement immediately after the sentencing, Biden said: ‘Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.’

It’s unclear where Griner will spend her sentence. She has been locked up in the Correctional Colony No. 1, or IK-1, since February.

Griner was held in a cell while her legal team sat at a table surrounding her. She had to rely on an interpreter to relay what the judge said

READ ALSO Ogwumike, WNBA continue push for Brittney Griner’s release

Her attorneys have not yet indicated whether they will appeal the sentence  or if that is even a possibility

Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy in Russia Elizabeth Rood called it a ‘miscarriage of justice’ while John Kirby, the US National Security Council Director for Strategic Communications, echoed Biden’s comments.

‘This sentence, this trial just reaffirms what we have been saying all along: Brittney has been wrongfully detained and she needs to be immediately released by Russian authorities so she can be home with her wife, her teammates, and her friends and family and the President is going to stay 100% committed to achieving that outcome,’ he said during an appearance on CNBC.






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