US basketball star Brittney Griner jailed for nine years by Russian court

a russian court has sentenced the u.s basketball star brittany greiner to nineyears in prison on drugs charges after finding her guilty of drug smugglinggreiner an olympic gold medalist hadadmitted having vape cartridgescontaining cannabis oil in her possession when she was detained in february but she said she hadn’tintended to break the law well let’sspeak to our state departmentcorrespondent barbara plett usher who’sin washington for us barbara what morecan you tell uswell this was almost the toughestsentence that brittany griner could havegot the charge of drug smuggling uh wasone that would have that has a sentenceof up to 10 years and she got nine yearswe knew that she would be convictedbecause she had pled guilty she saidthat she had brought those vapecartridges in but she hadn’t meant to dosoit was a mistakeshe hadn’t meant to break the law butthe court found that she haddeliberately done so and said that shewas guilty ofdrug smuggling the reason she pledguilty was that she was hoping for amore lenient sentence that obviouslyhasn’t happened and you could see howserious the expression was on her faceas the judge spoke and she was listeningto her interpreterfollowing every word finally finding outwhat her fate would be now it may not bethat she will that she will serve all ofthat time or even most of it because theunited states has put forward a proposalto the russians um to bring her back uhpresumably a prisoner swap although thathasn’t been confirmedbut we did get a statement frompresident biden he again repeated thatshe was wrongfully detained he said thissentence was unacceptable he said thatrussia should release her immediatelyand he said that his administrationwould continue to workas hard as it could to bring her andanother american detained in russia paulweyland home as soon as they coulduh and and barbara in terms of what thepresident has said in in that statementwhich we’ve seen which you’ve referredtois there much scope for for that tohappen what’s the capacity for forthe president to be able to do thatwell we know that there are seriousnegotiations about this the statedepartment took the almost unprecedentedstep a couple of weeks ago of announcingpublicly that it had made a substantialoffer to the russians and was waiting tohear back uh and we know that therussians are interested in a negotiationuh that according to russian mediathey’re interested in uh bringing backfor example um a russian arms dealerwho’s in prison in the united states butwe don’t have any indication from therussians abouthow quickly they might move on thator whether they’re going to wait for awhile and see if they can get more outof it mr blinken the secretary of statemade very clear that the these talkswere based entirely on a dealto bring the griner and mr whalen homethat they had nothing to do with the waron ukraine uh and so we’ll we’ll seethough if the russians want to s wellsee whether they’re wanting to getsomething more out of it maybe trying toget some sanctions lifted um maybetrying to get more prisoners releasedit’s not clearif that is indeed their uh theirobjective but we’re waiting now to seenow that the sentence has been given andthe the court has made its rulingwhether things will move quickly orwhether the russians will continue towait barbara thank you for bringing usthe latest on that that’s barbara klettusher our state department correspondentin

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