American Basketball Star Brittney Griner Got A ‘Severe’ Sentence Of 9 Years In Prison For Bringing Less Than 1 Gram Of Cannabis Oil Into Russia

A Russian court convicted Brittney Griner to the maximum sentence, nine years, in prison for drug smuggling and possession. The 31-year-old was arrested at an airport outside of Moscow on February 17, 2022. Russian authorities found vape cartridges that contained less than one gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

“I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here,” Griner said before the verdict was announced. “I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling… that it doesn’t end my life here.”

Griner also apologized to her family, her Phoenix Mercury teammates and the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, where she plays in the WNBA off-season.

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, tweeted that the sentence “was severe by Russian legal standards and goes to prove what we have known all along, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn.” 

Meanwhile, Griner’s defence attorney Maria Blagovolina told reporters that Griner was “very upset, very stressed. She can hardly talk. It’s a difficult time for her.”

It is unclear how long Griner will spend behind bars, as the United States and Russia have already been discussing a potential prisoner swap that would bring Griner back to America.

The sentencing is harsh but was expected by U.S officials. The formality of sentencing Griner will hopefully accelerate a diplomatic deal between the U.S and Russia.

READ MORE: Doug Ford And John Tory Just Got Blacklisted By Russia But Both Don’t Give A D*mn And Say They Will Continue To Stand With The People Of Ukraine

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