Live Updates: Brittney Griner Is Sentenced to 9 Years in a Russian Penal Colony

The W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner’s pals and colleagues expressed help and disappointment for her after a Russian courtroom discovered her responsible of making an attempt to smuggle unlawful narcotics into Russia and sentenced her to 9 years in a penal colony.

“Just really feeling sad and feeling sick for Brittney and hoping that she gets home as soon as possible,” mentioned Breanna Stewart, a four-time W.N.B.A. All-Star who had performed with Griner on the Russian staff UMMC Yekaterinburg since 2020. “Now that the trial is done and the sentencing happened, I know she’s got to be in a very emotional state and just want her to know that we’re still continuing to do whatever we can to get her home.”

Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17, when Russian customs officers at an airport close to Moscow mentioned they discovered cannabis oil in vape cartridges in her baggage. Her trial started on July 1 and the conviction had been extensively anticipated. The U.S. State Department has mentioned that Griner is being wrongfully detained and that it has been working to barter her launch.

Griner’s household has sought assist from Bill Richardson, the previous New Mexico governor who’s working to safe the discharge of Griner and of Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2018.

“Today’s sentencing of Brittney Griner was severe by Russian legal standards and goes to prove what we have known all along, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, mentioned on Twitter. “We appreciate and continue to support the efforts of @POTUS and @SecBlinken to get a deal done swiftly to bring Brittney, Paul and all Americans home.”

Moments after the decision, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces tweeted “Free BG!” with an emoji of an orange coronary heart. Dijonai Carrington of the Connecticut Sun tweeted “praying so hard for BG.”

The Phoenix Mercury launched a press release calling Griner’s scenario a nightmare.

“While we knew it was never the legal process that was going to bring our friend home, today’s verdict is a sobering milestone in the 168-day nightmare being endured by our sister, BG,” the Mercury’s assertion mentioned.

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The W.N.B.A. gamers’ union posted a statement on Twitter from its government director, Terri Carmichael Jackson, which known as the decision “unjust” and urged U.S. officers to do all they’ll to convey Griner residence.

“Given her record of service on and off the court, BG deserves to come home,” the assertion mentioned.

It then known as on the worldwide sporting group to face with Griner.

N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver and W.N.B.A. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert launched a joint assertion saying: “The W.N.B.A. and N.B.A.’s commitment to her safe return has not wavered, and it is our hope that we are near the end of this process of finally bringing BG home to the United States.”

Some N.B.A. gamers weighed in as effectively.

“Smh 9 Years…. Free BG,” Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat said on Twitter.

Nets star Kyrie Irving tweeted: “What is truly happening with our Queen @brittneygriner @POTUS @VP? Please give us an Update.”

Representative Colin Allred, Democrat of Texas, has been working to safe Griner’s launch since March.

“Folks must remember that this conviction is all part of a sham trial and Brittney was wrongfully detained,” Allred mentioned on Twitter. “It is just another cynical way for Russia to try and gain leverage.”

Debbie Jackson, Griner’s highschool basketball coach, held again tears after studying of Griner’s verdict. Jackson recruited Griner, then a volleyball participant, to play basketball at Nimitz High School in Houston, setting her on a path towards stardom on the courtroom.

“It makes me sick that that was the decision,” Jackson mentioned. “I was trying to be optimistic, even fully aware that when you’re dealing with Russia, things don’t go the way you would hope they would.” She mentioned she hoped Griner “can remain hopeful that our State Department will work on a prison swap for her and other Americans that are in prison over there.”



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