On Thursday, a Russian court found Brittney Griner guilty of conspiracy to smuggle and possess drugs. Based on CNN, guilty verdict says Brittney intend to commit a crime when she tried to enter the country with less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.
Before sentencing, Russian prosecutors ask the court to consider giving WNBA stars 9.5 years when they’re finished. Shortly after news of the ruling broke, Brittney’s lawyers confirmed the Russian court complied with the prosecutor’s request. As a result, she was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony, each The New York Times.
Brittney apologized & denied criminal intent before sentencing
This ruling comes after Brittney plead guilty in early July. At the time, she said, “I want to plead guilty, your honor, but no intention, I did not break the law.” She again spoke to the court during arguments that ended Thursday.
“I never intended to hurt anyone, I never intended to endanger the Russian people, I never intended to break any laws here,” Brittney said. “I honestly made a mistake and I hope your judgment that it doesn’t end my life here.”
As previously reported, customs officials detained Brittney in February at an airport in Moscow. They found two vape cars containing hash oil in her luggage. In May, the US announced that Brittney had been “wrongfully detained”, but that did not help her case.
Concerns that Russia was using Brittney as a political prisoner arose almost immediately after news of her arrest. However, Russian President Putin has denied those allegations. Speaking through an agent named Dmitry Peskov, the president said Brittney “violated Russian law” regarding hash oil, and that the incident was “not about being a hostage.”