Vice President Kamala Harris has been slammed on-line as a hypocrite after she condemned Russian officers for sentencing basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail for drug smuggling.
The WNBA star was discovered responsible on Thursday by a decide who rejected her declare she by accident introduced a marijuana pen into the nation. Prosecutors had requested that she be jailed for nine-and-a-half years, six months lower than the utmost of 10 years in jail.
Her attorneys say they’ve ten days to enchantment the decision and sentencing, and that the everyday sentence handed down for such a criminal offense is six years.
Following the announcement, Harris tweeted: ‘With at this time’s sentencing, Russia continues its wrongful detention of Brittney Griner. Sher ought to be launched instantly.’
She added that she and President Joe Biden ‘are working each day to reunite Brittney, in addition to Paul Whelan, with family members who miss every of them dearly.’
But virtually instantly after she posted her condemnation of Griner’s sentencing, individuals on Twitter identified that she locked up hundreds of individuals on marijuana expenses whereas she was the District Attorney of San Francisco.
As creator Tim Young wrote: ‘Brittney Griner bought 9 years for drug possession in Russia… which feels like a lot of the legal sentences Kamala Harris bought individuals for a similar factor when she was Attorney General of California.’
Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the 9 12 months sentence of basketball star Brittney Griner on Thursday
Several individuals on Twitter, together with creator Tim Young, had been fast to level out that she locked up hundreds of individuals on marijuana expenses whereas she was the District Attorney of San Francisco
During her tenure as DA, Harris oversaw extra than 1,900 marijuana convictions, and prosecutors in her workplace convicted individuals on marijuana expenses at a better price than her predecessor
In truth, because the District Attorney, Harris oversaw greater than 1,900 marijuana convictions, and prosecutors in her workplace convicted individuals on marijuana expenses at a better price than her predecessor, based on Mercury News.
She has additionally beforehand spoken out towards the legalization of marijuana — actively preventing a poll measure for leisure marijuana use in 2010, when she co-authored the opposition argument in a voter information.
In 2016, she stayed mum on the difficulty as a second poll initiative handed, and she or he solely got here out for legalizing marijuana in 2018 — after she was extensively thought of a presidential contender.
Still, Harris isn’t the one American prosecutor who has gone after marijuana customers prior to now.
According to an evaluation by the ACLU, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests within the United States, and of the 8.2 million marijuana busts between 2001 to 2010, 88 p.c had been for merely having marijuana.
Similarly, Griner was arrested on the airport in Moscow in February and has been incarcerated ever since, regardless of failed makes an attempt from the White House to barter her launch.
Brittney Griner in courtroom in Khimki, close to Moscow, on Thursday. The 31-year-old American athlete has been sentenced to 9 years in jail
Griner was held in a cell whereas her authorized group sat at a desk surrounding her. She needed to depend on an interpreter to relay what the decide mentioned
Griner is led out of the courtroom in Khimki carrying a guide, a bottle of water and photographs of her teammates that she offered to the decide earlier
Griner being led out of the courtroom on Thursday. Her attorneys haven’t but indicated whether or not they may enchantment the sentence – or if that’s even a chance
Her detention has been extensively condemned all through the United States, and following her sentencing on Thursday, President Joe Biden denounced the sentence and claimed she was ‘wrongfully detained’ – regardless of her pleading responsible.
He mentioned in a press release: ‘Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I name on Russia to launch her instantly so she will be together with her spouse, family members, mates, and teammates.’
Biden additionally mentioned he would proceed to work ‘tirelessly’ to pursue ‘each doable avenue’ to carry her and Paul Whelan – one other American imprisoned in Russia – residence.
Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy in Russia Elizabeth Rood additionally referred to as the sentence a ‘miscarriage of justice’ whereas John Kirby, the US National Security Council Director for Strategic Communications, echoed Biden’s feedback.
‘This sentence, this trial simply reaffirms what we have now been saying all alongside: Brittney has been wrongfully detained and she or he must be instantly launched by Russian authorities so she will be residence together with her spouse, her teammates, and her family and friends and the President goes to remain 100% dedicated to reaching that consequence,’ he mentioned throughout an look on CNBC.
President Biden instantly denounced the sentence and claimed Russia had ‘wrongfully’ detained her
Terri Carmichael Jackson, WNBPA Executive Director, mentioned in a press release: ‘Today’s verdict and sentence, whereas inevitable, is disappointing. The unjust resolution at this time is what it’s, unjust. It is a horrible blow.’
But many Americans suppose Griner’s incarceration is honest.
While a nine-year sentence is harsh, they’ve repeatedly questioned why she introduced the medicine into Russia, understanding it was strictly unlawful.
Among them is Donald Trump, who mentioned: ‘She went in there loaded up with medicine, right into a hostile territory and they’re very vigilant with medicine.
‘They don’t love medicine. And she bought caught.
‘And now we’re speculated to get her out for an absolute killer? One of the largest arms sellers on this planet. Killed many individuals, many Americans, and he will get a free card and we’ll get her out.
‘She knew… you do not go in there loaded up with medicine. She admitted it. It actually would not look like an excellent commerce.
‘He is likely one of the worst on this planet and he’s going to be given his freedom as a result of a probably spoiled individual goes into Russia loaded up with medicine.
Brittney Griner holds up a group picture exhibiting her taking part in with UMMC Ekaterinburg, the Russian group she spent off-seasons with to bolster her WNBA earnings
On Thursday, she sat within the defendant’s cage contained in the courtroom all through the proceedings, counting on an interpreter to whisper to her the whole lot the decide mentioned.
Before the sentence was handed down, she begged for leniency and requested the courtroom to consider her good character.
A decide accepted her plea – discovering her responsible on drug possession and smuggling.
They dominated that she dedicated the crimes purposefully – which she has denied.
She mentioned she didn’t need to be thought of a political pawn, and that bringing the hashish pen into the nation was a easy, ‘sincere mistake’.
‘Russia turned my second residence. I keep in mind vividly popping out of the health club and all the little women popping out and ready on me. That’s what saved making me come again right here.
‘I need to apologize to my teammates, my membership and the town for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I introduced.
‘I need to additionally apologize to my mother and father, my siblings, Phoenix Mercury, the wonderful girls of the WNBA and my wonderful partner again at residence.
‘I by no means meant to harm anyone, I by no means meant to place in jeopardy the Russian inhabitants, I by no means meant to interrupt any legal guidelines.
‘I made an sincere mistake and I hope that your ruling would not finish my life. I do know everyone retains speaking about political pawn and politics…however I hope that it’s miles from this courtroom.
‘I had no intent on breaking Russian regulation. I didn’t conspire or plan to commit this crime.
‘I hope you may take note of all of the paperwork, the character lists which have been despatched in on my behalf.
‘This is my second residence. All I wished to do was win championships and make them proud,’ she mentioned.
Griner together with her spouse Cherelle, who has been begging for White House assist for months
Griner was arrested at Moscow Airport in February when customs officers discovered a hashish pen in her baggage. She has been incarcerated ever since
Part of the proposed swap with Griner was for Paul Whelan to be launched too. He has been in Russian jail on expenses of espionage since 2018 (left). Mark Fogel, a trainer who was detained on medicine expenses final 12 months, stays incarcerated and isn’t a part of the swap
During closing arguments, her attorneys pleaded for leniency.
‘In sprinting there may be Usain Bolt, in Formula 1 Michael Schumacher, and in girls’s basketball there may be Brittney Griner,’ her lawyer Maria Blagovolina mentioned.
There was hypothesis Griner can be freed as a part of a prisoner swap in change for arms supplier Viktor Bout, who was arrested within the US in 2010
Blagovolina, a accomplice at Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners regulation agency, mentioned that ought to the courtroom deems it essential to punish her, Griner ought to be be handled leniently.
Griner’s household say they’ve been pissed off with the White House response to the scenario.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters Monday that Russia has made a ‘unhealthy religion’ response to the US authorities’s provide, a counteroffer that American officers do not regard as critical.
She declined to elaborate.
Griner has acknowledged there have been vape canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage when she was arrested at a Moscow airport.
But she insisted that she had no legal intent and that the canisters ended up in her baggage as a result of she was packing swiftly.
‘I nonetheless do not perceive how they ended up in my bag,’ she mentioned.
Griner had been prescribed medical marijuana within the United States to alleviate ache from persistent accidents, a remedy technique that’s frequent amongst elite athletes as a result of it has fewer unintended effects than some painkillers.
She performed for a Russian girls’s basketball group within the WNBA low season.
As a part of the deal, the White House proposed swapping Whelan and Griner, however not Mark Fogel – a trainer who was incarcerated in Russia in 2021 on suspicion of drug smuggling.
His household have begged the Biden administration for assist. Many have referred to as for Griner’s launch on the idea that marijuana is authorized within the US.