Terrible News For Brittney Griner
In February, WNBA star Brittney Griner traveled to Russia to play basketball there in the off-season. Unfortunately, she never made it past the airport. Russian police discovered hashish oil in her luggage. This substance is illegal in Russia, and Griner was sent to jail. She has been in jail ever since.
In July, Griner pled guilty to the charges against her. She also wrote a letter to President Biden asking for his help getting her home.
Since then, Griner was sentenced to 9 years in prison by a Russian court. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have been working on a prisoner swap. The United States proposed that Griner and fellow American prisoner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan would be traded for a Russian prisoner in custody in the United States, a convicted arms dealer named Viktor Bout.
No progress has been made on the prisoner swap. Russia has not made a counter offer that the United States can fulfill. They requested the return of a Russian prisoner named Vadim Krasikov, a convicted murderer, who is currently being held in prison in Germany.
Now, there is no progress on the legal front in getting Griner released or at least getting her sentence reduced. The Russian court has denied Griner’s appeal. Griner’s attorneys say they will have to talk to Griner about another appeal, but they believe the court is treating her unfairly.
Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov released a statement saying, “The verdict contains numerous defects and we hoped that the court of appeal would take them into consideration. We still think the punishment is excessive and contradicts to the existing court practice.”
The WNBA players association agrees that the verdict seems unfair. In a statement, they explained, “This appeal is further verification that BG is not just wrongfully detained. She is very clearly a hostage.”
Several officials believe that Russia will engage with the United States regarding a prisoner swap but not until after the November 8 mid-term elections in the United States. According to the officials, Russia doesn’t want to give President Biden a “win” before the election.
Do you believe Griner’s prison sentence is unfair? Do you think she will eventually return to the United States through a prisoner swap, or do you think she will end up serving her entire sentence in Russia?