Prosecutors within the case of Brittany Griner, who has been detained in Russia for greater than 5 months, requested that the WNBA star serve 9 1/2 years in jail as her trial ends.
Griner, 31, a Houston native who performs skilled basketball for the Phoenix Mercury, was detained at Sheremetyevo Worldwide Airport in Khimki on February 17 when she returned to Russia to play through the WNBA low season. was accused of. vape cartridges containing hash oil, which is illegitimate within the nation.
Griner, who appeared in court docket on Thursday for the ultimate listening to of his trial, is dealing with as much as 10 years in jail, although with a sentence of 9 1/2 years, the utmost sentence. If convicted, Griner has the proper to attraction.
Griner shared an emotional assertion in court docket forward of the anticipated verdict on Thursday morning.
He apologized to his family members for the harm he had brought about from his detention and stated that his dad and mom labored exhausting in him and that was the worth that introduced him to Russia.
Griner’s journey to Russia to play within the low season underscores the problem of pay inequality in skilled basketball
Many WNBA gamers have traveled world wide to play within the low season as a result of they don’t make sufficient cash through the season – a problem that’s not prevalent to NBA gamers. The WNBA’s high wage is $228,000 per season, whereas NBA star gamers earn over $20 million per 12 months.
The Phoenix Mercury star held up a photograph of his Russian teammates on Thursday and stated he made “an sincere mistake” by packing vape cartridges in his bag.
The prosecutor argued that Griner’s guilt was confirmed and likewise requested that Griner pay a nice of $16,500, which is about 1 million Russian rubles.
Griner pleaded responsible to drug prices in court docket final month, saying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil had been by chance in his baggage and he had no “intent” to interrupt Russian legislation.
His authorized crew instructed ABC Information final month in a press release that his Russian attorneys had really useful his “responsible” plea.
“Britney set an instance of being courageous. She determined to take full duty for her actions as a result of she is aware of she is a job mannequin for a lot of,” the attorneys stated within the assertion. “Given the character of his case, the insignificant quantity of substance and the historical past of BG’s character and constructive contribution to international and Russian sport, the protection expects that as a mitigating issue within the petition by the Court docket.” will probably be thought-about and there will probably be no severe sentence.”
Griner testified final week that she did not imply to go away cartridges in her bag, however that she was in a rush and pressured after recovering from COVID-19 that month. The WNBA star stated she knew the US had warned Individuals about touring to Russia, however she did not need to let her crew down within the playoffs.
She additionally testified that she is allowed to make use of medical hashish and used a certificates to buy it within the US. Earlier this month, one among Griner’s attorneys introduced in court docket a letter from an American physician. Offered, through which she was allowed to make use of hashish to scale back continual ache.
The American basketball star stated he was pulled apart after airport inspectors discovered wipe cartridges in his baggage and was not given a proof of his rights or entry to a lawyer when he was detained . Griner stated that whereas a translator was current, he was not provided a full translation and even tried to make use of his telephone to translate.
The invasion of Russia’s neighbor Ukraine started per week after Griner was taken into custody, and a few officers have expressed concern that Individuals jailed in Russia might be used as a bonus within the ongoing battle.
The US State Division has labeled each Whelan and Griner as “wrongfully detained”.
Final week, in a pointy reversal, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced that he would maintain a name with Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov “within the coming days” to debate securing the independence of Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan , who’ve been detained in Russia because the finish of 2018.
,[They] “Wrongfully detained and ought to be allowed to come back house,” Blinken instructed reporters in Washington DC on July 27. “We made a significant proposal weeks in the past to facilitate his launch. Our governments have communicated that proposal repeatedly and immediately, and I personally will use the dialog to observe up and I hope [to] Lead us to a decision.”
Two days later, Blinken instructed reporters that he had had “frank and direct talks” with Lavrov a few US supply to alternate convicted arms seller Victor Bout in alternate for the freedoms of Griner and Whelan.
“I put strain on the Kremlin to just accept a considerable supply to launch Paul Whelan and Brittany Griner,” Blinken stated. “I am not going to color their reactions and I can not offer you an evaluation of whether or not I believe issues are kind of doubtless, however it was essential that [he] Hear me straight on that.”
Throughout a press convention in Moscow on 28 July, Russian International Ministry spokeswoman Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova confirmed “on the problem of mutual alternate of Russian and Americans, on the problem of keep in locations of detention on the territory of each nations. mentioned concurrently. time by the presidents of Russia and the US, “however” a concrete consequence has not but been achieved.
ABC Information’ Max Carmen, Shannon Crawford, Joseph Simonetti and Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.