A Russian court has handed down a sentence for WNBA star Brittney Griner after she was charged with drug smuggling for entering the country in possession of a THC vape cartridge. Before the sentencing, Griner made a public statement, saying that she made an honest mistake and hopes it doesn’t end her life.
In the video statement, you can see below, Griner says that she was taught by her parents to work hard and take responsibility for her own actions, which is why she entered a guilty plea. She apologizes to her teammates and others who might have been embarrassed or hurt by her actions, and says that politics should not be a part of her case.
"I made an honest mistake."
Brittney Griner delivers statement in Russian court ahead of an expected verdict: "I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics. But I hope that that is far from this courtroom." https://t.co/nEpVrwligV pic.twitter.com/MFBo1wmzn3
— ABC News (@ABC) August 4, 2022
According to CNN, her attorney’s closing arguments noted that Griner only used THC at home in Arizona, legally and by a doctor’s order, saying that she never used the vape cartridge in Russia and had no idea how strict the laws were. Griner has already testified that she packed the cart by accident.
The attorney also noted that Griner was made to sign documents that she could not understand, and said that other elements of her arrest and detainment were improper.
Despite all this, Griner was sentenced to nine years.
President Joe Biden has released a new statement after previous negotiations failed to reach a solution.
“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. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com