U.S basketball star Brittney Griner has been given a 9-year jail sentence to a Russian penal colony, following the legal proceedings on Tuesday.
The Russian court’s decision to a nine-year jail term means Griner will begin serving her sentence soon unless the Biden administration can negotiate her release.
Griner’s lawyers had asked for a suspended sentence in Tuesday’s appeal but had said they weren’t expecting any “miracles.”
The basketball player was arrested in a Moscow airport in February after airport officials discovered vape canisters and cannabis oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to the drug smuggling charges.
Her detainment has caused Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, to be concerned.
“Once that hearing is held and the order is finalized … she could be moved to a labor camp, my brain can’t even fathom it.” Cherelle said earlier this month via The Times.
The White House has been working for months to release Brittney Griner, based on evidence that shows that the WNBA player has a medical marijuana prescription in Arizona. Russia is taking a strong stance, firmly stating that any amount of cannabis is illegal in Russia.
Experts have said the length of her sentence appears politically motivated, with one White House Official calling it ‘a sham.’
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has reiterated the White House’s position that Griner should be released immediately.
Breaking: A Russian court has upheld the nine-year prison sentence handed to Brittney Griner for drug possession, rejecting her appeal.
— ESPN (@espn) October 25, 2022