Brittney Griner’s Russian Prison Sentence is Upheld

A Russian court rejected WNBA player Brittney Griner’s appeal from her nine-year sentence for drug possession. The court ruled they would uphold the original sentence handed to Griner on Tuesday. The only difference with this court’s outcome is that they will recalculate her serving time in which they will take into account the time she has already served with pre-trial detention. As of now, the new calculation is going to amount to 8 years in a Russian prison unless the U.S. and Russia come to a prisoner swap agreement.

Back in August, Griner was given a nine-year sentence after she plead guilty to drug possession charges. This came after Russian authorities found prescribed cannabis in her bags at the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on February 17th.

The White House has mentioned the potential of prisoner swaps to get Griner back into American custody, though National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said in September that Russia hasn’t responded to their offers.

Fox News has reported:

“National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan released a statement after the sentence was upheld.
“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. President Biden has been very clear that Brittney should be released immediately,” the statement read.
“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. 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.””

Griner wasn’t hopeful that the appeals team would change the outcome of her case. October 17th has now marked the eighth month since she was first brought into Russian custody. While American authorities are still attempting to negotiate for her release, it seems they are at a stand still until Russia makes up their minds on what to do next.

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