August 12, 2022

Now, Greiner is back in the detention center where she was held during her weeks-long trial as her lawyers vowed to appeal the ruling and the Biden administration’s attempts to negotiate her release.

During the trial, Grenier pleaded guilty to carrying less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage while traveling through Moscow airport on February 17. She testified in court that she was aware of Russia’s strict drug laws and had no intention of bringing in cannabis. In the country, saying that she was in a hurry and “mobilizes the tension.”

Her lawyers had hoped that Greiner’s plea of ​​guilt and statements of remorse would lead to a more lenient sentence. She faced 10 years on the charges and prosecutors requested that she be sentenced to 9.5 years in prison. In addition to her nine-year prison sentence, Greiner must pay a fine of one million rubles, which is approximately $ 16,400.

“I made an honest mistake and I hope your judgment does not end my life here,” Greiner said in court before sentencing. “I know everyone keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope it’s out of this courtroom.”

The US State Department has designated Greiner as unjustly detained. The Biden administration has offered to trade a convicted Russian arms dealer for Greiner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, CNN previously reported.
After the verdict, Greiner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, chirpToday’s sentencing of Britney Greiner was harsh by Russian legal standards and proves what we have known all along, that Britney is being used as a political tool.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said the ruling was “unacceptable” and demanded that she be returned to the United States for family reunification.

Here’s what comes next for Griner as she awaits her attorney’s appeal and the United States continues to negotiate for her release.

Lawyers will appeal the ‘unreasonable’ verdict

Griner’s legal team will appeal the court’s decision, which they must do within 10 days of the ruling, according to her attorneys, Alexander Boikov and Maria Blagovolina, a partner at the law firms of Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners.

They said in “We are deeply disappointed with the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality. The court completely ignored all defense evidence and, most importantly, the guilty plea.” a permit.

They described the ruling as “totally unreasonable” and insisted in the statement that the decision “contradicts existing legal practices” in Russia.

Defense expert says checking substance in Brittney Griner's VAP cartridges violated Russian law

The average time in prison for this type of crime is five years, Blagovolina told reporters, adding that nearly a third of those convicted get parole.

During the trial, lawyers argued that Grenier’s arrest had been improperly handled. Greiner testified that she was forced to sign documents she did not fully understand and did not obtain proper translations of the Russian paperwork.

A defense expert also testified that screening e-cigarette cartridges containing cannabis oil did not comply with Russian law.

The United States proposed a prisoner exchange in exchange for Greiner’s return

Last week, CNN reported that the Biden administration had proposed a prisoner exchange, offering to exchange convicted Russian arms smuggler Graner and Whelan. Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine Corps commander, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2018 on espionage charges after a trial the United States deemed unfair.

Following the sentencing of Greiner, National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby said it was “up to the Russian side” whether the conviction would open the door to prisoner exchange negotiations.

Joe Biden calls Britney Grenier's sentence
After the United States proposed a prisoner exchange, Russia responded by demanding the release of convicted killer Vadim Krasikov, multiple sources familiar with the discussions told CNN. The United States did not consider the counter as a legitimate proposition, in part because the request was made through an informal back channel.

Kirby reiterated Thursday that the US position remains that it wants Russia to “take the deal on the table because it’s good, it’s fair, and it’s going to help bring Paul (Whelan) and Britney home.”

While US officials have long opposed the prisoner trade, the successful release of Trevor Reed, an American and former Marine who was imprisoned in Russia, won bipartisan praise from lawmakers and was considered a political victory for the Biden administration.

The family and supporters continue to fight for her return

The swap proposal comes after months of pressure from the Griner family and members of the basketball community.

The star’s wife, Sheryl Greiner, has been vocal about her desire for US officials to take more substantial measures to bring his wife home. Days after Cheryl Greiner expressed her frustration in an interview with CNN, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris placed a call with her to assure her that they were committed to securing her wife’s release, according to the White House. Call readings.

Griner has also had consistent support from her WNBA team, Phoenix Mercury, as well as other members of the basketball community.

Before the start of the Thursday night game between Mercury and the Connecticut Sun, members of both teams tied their arms in midfield and held a 42-second minute’s silence for Greener, who wears her 42-second jersey. After he finished, people in the crowd started chanting, “Bring her home! Bring her home!”

Allie Malloy, Chris Liakos, Natasha Bertrand, Frederik Pleitgen, Eric Levenson, Dakin Andone, Travis Caldwell, Jill Martin, Betsy Klein, Kate Sullivan and MJ Lee contributed to this report.

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