On Tuesday, a Russian court dismissed Brittney Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison term for cocaine possession. The court upheld the WNBA star’s punishment. However, the court indicated in the judgment that the time Griner will have to serve in prison would be revised to include her time in pre-trial detention.

One day in pre-trial custody will be counted as 1.5 days in prison, which means Griner will spend nearly eight years in prison unless the US and Russia reach an agreement on a prospective prisoner swap in the future.

Following the sentence’s upholding, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement.


“We are aware of reports from Russia that Brittney Griner will be illegally held under inhumane conditions after another sham judicial procedure today. President Biden has stated unequivocally that Brittney should be released immediately “the statement stated.

“In recent weeks, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to engage with Russia via every available avenue in order to bring Brittney home, as well as to support and campaign for other Americans jailed in Russia, including fellow unjust detainee Paul Whelan.

The President has shown that he is ready to go to incredible lengths and make difficult decisions to return Americans home, as his Administration has done successfully from places all around the world. The Administration maintains regular contact with representatives of the families, and we continue to admire their bravery in the face of these unthinkable circumstances.”

Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on February 17 after Russian officials said she had vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage. Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison on August 4 after pleading guilty and claiming she had been prescribed cannabis for pain and had mistakenly packed it.

Griner’s lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov stated on Monday that the WNBA star is “not anticipating any miracles.”.


“She is very apprehensive as she awaits the appeal hearing. Brittney does not anticipate miracles, but she hopes that the appeals court will hear the defense’s arguments and decrease the sentence “Reuters obtained a statement from them on Monday.

The White House has suggested the possibility of a prisoner swap. National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby stated in September that Russia had not reacted to the “significant offering” made by the US in July, which included former US Marine Paul Whelan.

“They have not responded to our offer. We have made a genuine offer to bring Brittney Griner and Paul Whalen home “Kirby stated at the time. “The Russians have not reacted to that offer. But that doesn’t mean we’re not still negotiating.”

“We want them to embrace it because, really, these two people should be home anyhow. But we recognize that it will almost certainly be the conclusion of the negotiating process, in which we are willing to participate honestly and openly, as we have been. And we’re waiting for them to accept the offer that’s been made.”

Griner had been detained in Russia for eight months on October 17th. Her 32nd birthday was the following day.

According to two people familiar with the situation, the US has proposed a prisoner swap with Russia in exchange for the release of Griner and another American, Paul Whelan, a corporate executive who has been held in Russia since 2018. According to the sources, the arrangement would include the US releasing imprisoned Russian arms trader Viktor Bout.

In April, Russia released American Trevor Reed in exchange for the US freeing Russian narcotics trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko, who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Reed, a former Marine, was sentenced to nine years in jail in Russia in 2020 after authorities said he assaulted a Russian police officer following a night of drinking. Reed and his family have maintained their innocence.

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