BREAKING: Brittney Griner sentenced to NINE YEARS in Russian prison, found guilty of drug possession

Griner's legal team called the verdict "absolutely unreasonable," adding that they will "certainly file an appeal."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

In March, WNBA player Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on drug charges after hashish oil was discovered in her bags at the Moscow airport. She later pleaded guilty to drug charges.

On Thursday, a Russian court found Griner guilty and sentenced her to nine years in a penal colony. She was also ordered to pay a fine of one million Rubles.

According to the New York Times, Griner's legal team called the verdict "absolutely unreasonable," adding that they will "certainly file an appeal."

They claimed the court had "completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea."

In court, Griner admitted to making an "honest mistake," and said she understood the charges that had been brought against her.

Her lawyers argued that she had a prescription for the hashish oil, and that she had not intended to break any laws. In Russia, cannabis is strictly illegal, with possession of more than six grams considered a criminal offense.

Despite calls for leniency, the court proceeded to throw the book at her. In Russia, high-profile foreigners are often subject to ramped-up penalties for their actions.

Griner’s case has been closely watched by the international community, with many suggesting she is being used by Russia as a “pawn” in order to achieve their political goals.

There have been talks regarding a potential prisoner swap between Russia and the United States.

In June, the Biden administration offered to exchange convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout for Griner and Paul Whelan.

A month later, however, Russian official Dmitry Peskov said that "no agreements have been finalized."

Prior to hearing the court's decision, Russian officials noted that a guilty verdict would be necessary to get the ball rolling.

Now that Griner has been sentenced, it remains to be seen whether the two nations will be able to come to an agreement.


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