Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug smuggling charges, faces up to 10 years in Russian prison
WNBA star Brittney Griner plead guilty in a Russian court to drug charges and now faces up to 10 years in prison.
Griner was detained in February at an airport in Moscow after vape cartridges were found in her luggage. Now, she faces up to 10 years in prison for “large-scale transportation of drugs” into Russia.
In court today, Griner told Russian officials that she didn’t mean to carry drugs in her luggage and the result was her packing in a hurry. She left the courtroom without giving any comments to reporters. The next hearing is now set for July 14th.
This is complete and utter bullshit from the Russian government but of course, no one should be surprised by it either. The Philadelphia Flyers are currently trying to find out where and when Ivan Fedotov will be freed from Russian jail as well for reportedly “evading military service”.
Here’s what NBC News had to say about the United States efforts to free Brittney Griner:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted after the hearing that U.S. embassy officials attending the trial were able to speak to Griner and deliver a letter from Biden.
“We will not relent until Brittney, Paul Whelan, and all other wrongfully detained Americans are reunited with their loved ones,” he said.
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson echoed that sentiment.
In a statement, she said: “As we have stated before, we believe the Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner under intolerable circumstances. At the President’s direction, the U.S. government continues to work aggressively, pursuing every avenue, to bring her home safely to her family, friends, and loved ones as soon as possible. We will continue that work to secure Brittney’s release, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world.”
If Russia wants to fine Brittney Griner and ban her from ever returning to the country, that seems fine but giving her a 10 year jail sentence for a few vape cartridges is flat-out ridiculous. All Griner did was take some oils for personal use through TSA and now Russia wants to throw her in jail for a decade.
It doesn’t even look like we’ll see any type of solution for months, with Russian courts authorizing her detention through December 20, 2022 and officials don’t really seem too keen on the idea of swapping her for a Russian asset held in an American prison either.
Here’s a clip from an AP News Article
Asked about the possibility of Griner being swapped for a Russian jailed in the U.S., Ryabkov, the senior Russian diplomat, noted that until her trial is over “there are no formal or procedural reasons to talk about any further steps.”
He warned that U.S. criticism, including a description of Griner as wrongfully detained and dismissive comments about the Russian judicial system, “makes it difficult to engage in detailed discussion of any possible exchanges.”
“The persistence with which the U.S. administration … describes those who were handed prison sentences for serious criminal articles and those who are awaiting the end of investigation and court verdicts as ‘wrongfully detained’ reflects Washington’s refusal to have a sober view of the outside world,” Ryabkov snapped.
Just an all-around shitty situation for Brittney Griner. Hopefully the United States can figure out a way to get her out of Russia as quickly as possible.