Brittney Griner Found Guilty of Criminal Smuggling Charges in Russian Court, Sentenced to 9 Years

by Jhanaya Belle

August 4, 2022

Photo by: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images

American WNBA star Brittney Griner has been found guilty in a Russian court Thursday. She was sentenced to 9 years in prison, according to CNN.

“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 stated while in a Khimki City courtroom prior to being found guilty. “I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.

Griner’s sentence is barely short of the maximum 10 years she was entitled to, after finding her guilty of drug possession and smuggling offenses.

Judge Anna Sotnikova claimed that Griner committed the offenses knowingly. In addition, Griner was given a 1 million ruble ($16,300) fine.

Photo by: EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly six months after Griner’s flight into a Moscow airport, it was claimed that Russian customs officers discovered .702 grams of cannabis oil in her suitcase.

It is less than the weight of a pen cap or a stick of gum, but according to the prosecution, that was enough to meet the legal standard for “significant amount” in Russia, and they sought the judge to sentence Griner to 9 1/2 years behind bars.

President Biden spoke out against Griner’s sentence in a statement issued by the White House shortly after the verdict was rendered.

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

In order to bring Griner home “as soon as possible,” Biden said he is committed to working “tirelessly and pursue every possibility.”

Photo by: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Phoenix Mercury basketball player has been detained since February of this year.

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