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Brittney Griner’s nine-year prison sentence in Russia upheld


A Russian court on Tuesday rejected Brittney Griner’s appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession.

The court decided to uphold the sentence against the WNBA superstar. However, in the decision, the court said the time Griner will have to serve in prison will be recalculated taking into account his time in pretrial detention.

A day in pretrial detention will be counted as 1.5 days in jail, which means Griner will serve around eight years in prison unless the US and Russia reach an agreement on a possible prisoner swap at the coming.

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FILE – WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted out of a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia August 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan released a statement after the sentence was confirmed.

“We are aware of news from Russia that Brittney Griner will continue to be wrongfully detained in intolerable circumstances after having to undergo another sham legal proceeding today. President Biden has been very clear that Brittney should be released immediately,” the statement read.

“Over the past few weeks, the Biden-Harris administration has continued to engage with Russia through every available channel and to do everything possible to bring Brittney home as well as to support and defend other Americans detained in custody. Russia, including his wrongful fellow inmate Paul Whelan.The president has demonstrated his willingness to go to extraordinary lengths and make tough decisions to bring Americans home, as his administration successfully did in countries around the world. The administration remains in regular contact with representatives of the families, and we continue to admire their courage in the face of these unimaginable circumstances.”

Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow on February 17 after Russian authorities said she had vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

A Russian court has found Brittney Griner guilty of smuggling and stockpiling narcotics after prosecutors sought a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the athlete.

A Russian court has found Brittney Griner guilty of smuggling and stockpiling narcotics after prosecutors sought a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the athlete.
(EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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On August 4, she was sentenced to nine years after pleading guilty, arguing that she had been prescribed cannabis for her pain and had inadvertently packaged it.

Griner’s attorneys, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said Monday that the WNBA star “didn’t expect any miracles.”

“She is very nervous waiting for the appeal hearing. Brittney does not expect miracles to happen but hopes the appeals court will hear the defense arguments and reduce the time,” they wrote. said in a statement via Reuters on Monday.

The White House has raised the potential for a prisoner swap. National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said in September that Russia had failed to respond to the “substantial offer” made by the United States in July, an agreement that includes former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.

“They didn’t respond to our offer. We made a serious offer to bring Brittney Griner and Paul Whalen home,” Kirby said at the time. “The Russians haven’t responded to this offer. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t in negotiations yet.”

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is seen on the bottom of a television screen as she waits to appear in a video link provided by the Russian Federal Prison Service in a courtroom ahead of a hearing at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is seen on the bottom of a television screen as she waits to appear in a video link provided by the Russian Federal Prison Service in a courtroom ahead of a hearing at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, October 25, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

“We want them to accept it, frankly, these two people should be home anyway, period. But we understand that it will probably have to be the result of the negotiation process, a process that we are ready to participate in. honestly and fully, and we’ve done that, and we’re waiting for them to accept the offer that’s on the table.

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October 17 marked eight months of Russian detention for Griner. The next day was his 32nd birthday.

Paulina Dedaj of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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