Brittney Griner Sentenced to 9 Years in Russia
On Thursday, Khimki court sentenced American basketball star Brittney Greiner, who was arrested at Sheremetyevo airport on February 17 during the customs inspection for trying to carry in her luggage vape cartridges containing hashish oil. Greiner, 31, was sentenced to 9 years in a general regime penal colony and fined 1 million rubles.
The prosecutor demanded 9.5 years in prison. The American woman was charged under Part 1 Article 228 of the Criminal Code “illegal acquisition, possession and transportation of drugs without intent to sell” and Part 2 Article 229.1 “smuggling drugs in large quantities.
In her final statement, Brittney Griner said that she had no intention of violating any Russian laws: “I had no intent, I did not plot or plan to commit this crime. I made an accidental mistake, but I hope your verdict will not end my life here. I want the court to understand that it was an accidental mistake that I made in a hurry, under stress, trying to heal from COVID and just trying to get back on my team.”
“My parents taught me two important things: one, to take responsibility and two, to work hard for everything you have. That’s why I pleaded guilty to the charges against me. I understand everything that has been said against me and the accusations that are against me, and that’s why I pleaded guilty,” the American athlete said.
Greiner also stated that Russia is her second home. “I never wanted to hurt anyone. I never wanted to endanger Russians. I never intended to break any laws here. Once again, I want to apologize to my teammates and the UMMC club for any harm I may have caused them. I never intended to hurt them. This is my second home and all I wanted was to win championships for them and make them proud.
She also apologized to her American women’s basketball league teammates, the Phoenix Mercury.
The American basketball player also mentioned the fact that she has been called a political pawn, referring to the fact that since her arrest began there has been talk that the purpose of her detention was to further her exchange. “Everyone keeps talking about a political pawn and politics, but I hope that this court hearing is not under that influence.”