American Sports Star Sentenced to 9 Years in Russian Prison

President Biden calls the verdict “unacceptable.” 

WNBA basketball star Britney Griner was convicted in Russia Thursday of possessing and smuggling prohibited drugs. She was sentenced to nine years in prison. She was also fined 1 million rubles (about $16,700). Griner, age 31, is a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and an eight-time all-star with the Phoenix Mercury. 

President Biden called the verdict “unacceptable,” saying, “I call on Russia to release her immediately.” The president added that he is also continuing to work to bring home Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction, while he works to bring Griner back to the U.S. 

As she was led out of the courtroom, Griner said, “I love my family.” Her lawyer said she was “very upset, very stressed. She can hardly talk. It’s a difficult time for her.” Under Russian law, Griner has ten days to appeal. 

On July 27, in a reversal of previous policy, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington had offered Russia a deal to bring home Griner and Whelan. Details of the proposal were not announced, though it was reported that the U.S. offered to trade convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Whelan and Griner.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary of State Blinken as he attempts to intervene on the WNBA celebrity’s behalf.
  • For the president to be prudent in his discussions regarding Griner and Whelan.
  • For the families of all Americans who are imprisoned internationally.

Sources: The Hill, Washington Examiner


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