WNBA star Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian jail earlier today for allegedly having less than a gram of cannabis oil in a vape cartridge while at the airport.
She has been in jail since February, and the consensus has been the sentence is way too long.
The US has offered up a prisoner exchange for Griner and another American for a Russian who has been given the nickname “the merchant of death,” and there are legal experts that have said that the sentencing was just a formality, and this allows Russia to now talk about the exchange.
In the meantime, singer Justin Bieber wants to lend a hand. The Grammy award winner went to IG to ask everyone if they knew of a way for him to help Griner and, if they did, to let him know.
Unless he can get in touch with Jack Bauer, he likely can’t do anything.
A Russian court sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison Thursday, an expected conclusion to her trial that should allow negotiations for a prisoner swap to accelerate.
Griner, who was arrested Feb. 17 for bringing cannabis into the country, had been prepared for a harsh sentence, sources close to the player said. But she and her supporters have also been aware that Russia was not going to move forward with a trade that could bring her home until her trial was completed. A guilty verdict was considered a foregone conclusion, and Griner pleaded guilty July 7, though the case continued under Russian law.
During sentencing, Judge Anna Sotnikova said she had found that Griner intentionally broke the law and also fined her 1 million rubles (about $16,700). Sotnikova said the time Griner has served in custody since her arrest in February would count toward the sentence.
Griner reacted to the sentence with little emotion, listening to the verdict with a blank stare on her face.
If there is a way anyone can help, hopefully, she gets the help she needs.
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