Britney Greenner Sentenced Sentenced to 9.5 years in exile in Russia on Thursday. The WNBA player was detained on February 17 after reports that officials found cannabis oil cartridges and vaping pens in her luggage as she passed through a Moscow airport. Griner’s lawyers announced they would appeal her sentence.
“this [verdict] contradicts existing legal practice.Given the amount of substance (not to mention the deficiencies in expertise) and the guilty plea, the sentence is unreasonable,” Greener’s attorney said in a statement statement CNN obtained. “We will definitely appeal.”
Griner’s arrest was likely politically motivated, as could her unusually long sentence. Although Griner’s crimes were relatively minor, she received a much longer sentence compared to other Russian offenders, only a few months away from the maximum possible 10-year sentence. Griner’s lawyers expressed disappointment and anger at the verdict, noting that Russia’s average sentence for low-level drug possession is about five years, not nine.
“As legal professionals, we believe the courts should be fair to everyone, regardless of nationality,” they said. Say“The court completely ignored all of the defence’s evidence and, most importantly, the guilty plea.”
Whether Greener will spend more than nine years in prison, or return home with his family in a few months, is unclear. What is clear is that Russia’s politically motivated arrest and imprisonment of a prominent American athlete is having the desired effect – she is the perfect bargaining chip to secure the release of Russians in American prisons.
Biden administration declares Greener’swrongly detained” and announced their offer in May prisoner exchange in July.According to CNN, U.S. officials supply Free arms trafficker Victor Boot in exchange for Greener and Paul Whelan, another American citizen held in Russia on espionage charges since 2018.However, according to BloombergRussian officials are unlikely to agree to the proposal unless they can secure the release of the two Russian prisoners.
In addition, Russian officials warned the Biden administration not to publicly discuss the prisoner swap proposal. “They decided for some reason to solve these problems with a megaphone. This is not the way to solve the problem,” the Kremlin said. spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow. “If we start talking about any nuances of exchanges in the media, those exchanges will never happen. ” On Friday morning, U.S. and Russian diplomats announced their intention to start more formal talks to reach a prisoner swap deal. However, it is unclear how likely it is that Griner’s release talks will succeed.
As U.S. officials expressed outrage over the case, drug policy advocates noted that Griner’s sentence highlighted the cruelty not only of the Russian judicial system, but also of the U.S. justice system. “While many Americans are understandably distressed that a U.S. citizen may be held in a foreign prison for possessing a small amount of marijuana that reflects personal use, we should remember that in the United States, thousands of jailed for crimes,” said Geoffrey Lawrence, managing director of drug policy at the Reason Foundation, which publishes the website.He says reason, “In fact, if Ms. Griner was caught in a national park with the same amount of marijuana, federal law would require her to face a minimum fine of $1,000, plus a maximum one-year federal prison sentence. “
several states give regularly Sentenced to years in prison for drug possession. Last year, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a life sentence for a 38-year-old man serving a life sentence for smoking 1.5 ounces of marijuana under a “recidivist” law.as reasonElizabeth Nolan Brown wrote: “Mississippi has marijuana Yes It’s Always Illegal Without a Prescription – But It’s Not life imprisonment offense. However, because of Russell’s original mistake more than a decade ago, he is now serving the rest of his life in prison, as other Mississippians could be sentenced to a year in prison, while many Americans elsewhere can State Legal to Buy – Sanctioned Stores. “
When it comes to drug laws, however, the U.S. typically has far more lenient penalties than Russia.as causal Jacob Soulem wrote“Of course, such a penalty is harsher than no penalty, and even a misdemeanor conviction may result in additional penalty more important than the sentence itself. ‘ he continued, ‘but with Happening Before the 1970s, when states generally regarded marijuana possession as a felony, the current regime seemed moderate, and it did seem enlightened compared to Russia’s approach. “
For now, Griner’s fate remains to be seen, but further detention appears likely for at least a few months. If so, she might end up in custody in Russia for far less time than some (though certainly not most) Americans would spend in prison for similar drug possession.