I am disappointed to report Brittney Griner will have to continue fighting for her freedom after a Russian court rejected her appeal on Tuesday (October 25).
The 32-year-old WNBA star of the Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested in February after police at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
On August 4, Brittney Griner was convicted of drug possession and smuggling drugs with criminal intent.
Prior to her sentencing, the 31-year-old said she made “an honest mistake” and told the judge, “I hope in your ruling it does not end my life.”
Unfortunately, Judge Anna Sotnikova wasn’t moved and imposed a 9-year sentence.
The White House confirmed the United States offered Russia a deal aimed at securing the release of Brittney and ex-marine Paul Whelan.
Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, was arrested on espionage charges and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.
For years, Russia has had a vested interest in the release of Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, who was once labeled the “Merchant of Death.”
Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2021 on charges that he schemed to illegally sell millions of dollars in weapons.
At this time, it’s unclear whether or not Russia is willing to play ball to secure the releases of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
There haven’t been any updates regarding the process of negotiations for Brittney’s freedom.
In the ruling on Tuesday, the Russian court stated, however, that the time Griner will have to serve in prison will be recalculated with her time in pre-trial detention taken into account.
One day in pre-trial detention will be counted as 1.5 days in prison, so the basketball star will have to serve around eight years in prison.
Sending prayers to Brittny Griner and her family.
Source: Associated Press