HomeNewsRussian courtroom upholds WNBA star Brittney Griner's 9-year jail sentence

Russian courtroom upholds WNBA star Brittney Griner’s 9-year jail sentence

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A Russian courtroom on Tuesday upheld American basketball star Brittney Griner‘s nine-year jail sentence for drug possession, rejecting her attraction in a session the place she appeared by way of video name from a penal colony exterior Moscow. Griner can nonetheless attraction to a better courtroom, however her legal professionals have but to verify whether or not they may take the case additional.

The eight-time all-star heart with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist was convicted on August 4 after police stated they discovered vape canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. 

“This has been very traumatic expertise, ready for today, ready for the primary courtroom, and getting 9 years for a criminal offense that I used to be barely over the numerous quantity,” Griner informed the Moscow listening to on Tuesday. “I do not perceive the primary courtroom’s resolution to present one 12 months lower than the max after I’ve been right here nearly 8 months, and other people with extra extreme crimes have gotten lower than what I used to be given… I actually hope that the courtroom will alter this sentence, as a result of it has been very, very anxious and really traumatic to my psychological and psyche, being away from my household and never with the ability to talk.”

Earlier this month, Brittney’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, informed “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King that she is scared of the WNBA star’s destiny.


Brittney Griner’s spouse on WNBA star’s detention in Russia

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“It is like a film for me. I am like, ‘In no world did I ever thought, , our president and a international nation president could be sitting down having to debate the liberty of my spouse.’ And so to me, as a lot as all people’s telling me a distinct definition of what B.G. is, it feels to me as if she’s a hostage,” Cherelle stated.

“That should scare you,” King replied.

“It terrifies me as a result of, I imply, while you watch motion pictures, like, generally these conditions do not finish properly. Generally they by no means get the particular person again,” stated Cherelle.Griner’s February arrest got here at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, simply days earlier than Russia despatched troops into Ukraine. On the time, Griner was returning to Russia, the place she performed in the course of the U.S. league’s offseason.

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner seems on a display by way of video hyperlink from a detention heart earlier than a courtroom listening to to think about her attraction of her jail sentence on Oct. 25, 2022.

EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / REUTERS


Throughout her trial, Griner admitted that she had the canisters in her baggage, however testified that she had inadvertently packed them in haste and that she had no prison intent. Her protection crew introduced written statements that she had been prescribed hashish to deal with ache.

The nine-year sentence was near the utmost of 10 years, and Griner’s legal professionals argued after the conviction that the punishment was extreme. They stated in related instances defendants have obtained a mean sentence of about 5 years, with a few third of them granted parole.

Earlier than her conviction, the U.S. State Division declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained” — a cost that Russia has sharply rejected.

Reflecting the rising strain on the Biden administration to do extra to carry Griner dwelling, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the bizarre step of showing publicly in July that Washington had made a “substantial proposal” to get Griner dwelling, together with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.

Blinken did not elaborate, however The Related Press and different information organizations have reported that Washington has supplied to trade Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms seller who’s serving a 25-year sentence within the U.S. and as soon as earned the nickname the “service provider of demise.”

The White Home stated it has not but obtained a productive response from Russia to the supply.

Russian diplomats have refused to touch upon the U.S. proposal and urged Washington to debate the matter in confidential talks, avoiding public statements.

In September, U.S. President Joe Biden met with Cherelle Griner, the spouse of Brittney Griner, in addition to the participant’s agent, Lindsay Colas. Biden additionally sat down individually with Elizabeth Whelan, Paul Whelan’s sister.

The White Home stated after the conferences that the president careworn to the households his “continued dedication to working via all obtainable avenues to carry Brittney and Paul dwelling safely.”

The Biden administration carried out a prisoner swap in April, with Moscow releasing Marine veteran Trevor Reed in trade for the U.S. releasing a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, convicted in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

Moscow additionally has protested the arrest of one other Russian at the moment in U.S. custody, Alexander Vinnik, who was accused of laundering billions of {dollars} by way of a bootleg cryptocurrency trade. Vinnik had been in custody in Greece after being arrested there in 2017 at U.S. request earlier than being extradited to the U.S. in August. It wasn’t clear if Russia would possibly demand Vinnik’s launch as a part of a possible swap.

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