Brittney Griner’s Appeal Rejected by Russian Court
A Moscow court has upheld Brittney Griner‘s nine-year prison sentence.
The WNBA player, whose been in a Russian prison since February, virtually appeared at a hearing on Oct. 25, almost three months after she was convicted on drug charges. During the hearing, the Russian court denied Griner’s appeal and the athlete—who is currently in a detention center—is now “expected to be moved to a penal colony,” according to NBC News.
Griner, who recently celebrated her 32nd birthday away from loved ones, was arrested in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport earlier this year after authorities said they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. Since then, Griner’s legal team, and her family, including wife Cherelle Griner, as well as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have been working to get her released.
In July, Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges, however, as she said in court, “there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.” A month later, a Russian court found Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling and also concluded that she committed the crime deliberately. Along with her sentencing, Griner received a 1 million ruble fine ($16,000) for conscious drug smuggling and possession.
After Griner’s appeal was denied on Oct. 25, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan addressed the court decision. “We are aware of the news out of Russia that Brittney Griner will continue to be wrongfully detained under intolerable circumstances after having to undergo another sham judicial proceeding today,” he said. “President Biden has been very clear that Brittney should be released immediately.”
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“In recent weeks, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to engage with Russia through every available channel and make every effort to bring home Brittney as well as to support and advocate for other Americans detained in Russia, including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan,” Sullivan’s statement continued. “The President has demonstrated that he is willing to go to extraordinary lengths and make tough decisions to bring Americans home, as his Administration has done successfully from countries around the world. The Administration remains in regular touch with representatives of the families, and we continue to admire their courage in the face of these unimaginable circumstances.”
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