WNBA Star Sentenced to Nine Years in Russian Prison

By Frankie Dulatre

The Russian court arrested WNBA star Brittney Griner on February 17, 2022, for bringing in cannabis to Russia. The court ended up sentencing her to nine years.

Griner was in the Russian Airport to compete during the WNBA’s off-season, and her stay suddenly became short when officials had to take Griner to the side to confiscate her luggage. 

In the luggage, officials found vape cartridges filled with hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia. Shortly after, Griner was detained and taken to a detention center. 

“I still don’t understand to this day how they ended up in my bags.” Griner said to her lawyer. Griner was fully aware about the laws, and says she does not know how the vape cartridges got into her luggage.

When taken into Moscow Regional Court on August 4th through video call, Brittney was proven guilty and was sentenced to nine years in the same detention center she has been staying at since February. 

Two weeks after Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison, her defense team stood up and filed in for an appeal. The appeal had stated that the American government wants Griner to spend the rest of her sentence back in America and to go through with a prisoner swap.  

The American Government wants to give them Viktor Bout, who sold undercover U.S agents 100 air-to-air missiles and has been serving a 25 year sentence in the United States Penitentiary, in return for Brittney Griner.

Just recently on October 25th,The Russian Court denied Griner’s appeal. After the denial, there is a higher chance of the WNBA Star moving to a penal colony, which is a remote location to separate the prisoner from the general population. Yet, there will be a higher chance with a high-profile prisoner exchange.

After the denial of the appeal on Tuesday, Griner has not been as hopeful, and is feeling “quite pessimistic about the outcome” states Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina.

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