Brittney Griner jail replace: Russian courtroom denies WNBA star’s enchantment of 9-year jail sentence


MOSCOW — A Russian courtroom on Tuesday upheld the nine-year jail sentence handed to American basketball star Brittney Griner for drug possession, rejecting her enchantment.

Griner, an eight-time all-star middle with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police stated they discovered vape canisters containing hashish oil in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

The Moscow area courtroom dominated Tuesday to uphold the sentence. Within the ruling the courtroom said, nevertheless, that the time Griner must serve in jail will probably be recalculated together with her time in pre-trial detention taken under consideration. At some point in pre-trial detention will probably be counted as 1.5 days in jail, so the basketball star must serve round eight years in jail.

Griner took half within the Moscow Regional Courtroom listening to by way of video name from a penal colony exterior Moscow the place she is imprisoned.

Griner’s February arrest got here at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, simply days earlier than Russia despatched troops into Ukraine. On the time, Griner was returning to Russia, the place she performed through the U.S. league’s offseason.

Griner admitted she had the canisters in her baggage however testified that she inadvertently packed them in haste and had no felony intent. Her protection workforce offered written statements saying she had been prescribed hashish to deal with ache.

The nine-year sentence was near the utmost of 10 years, and Griner’s attorneys argued after the conviction that the punishment was extreme. They stated in related instances defendants have acquired a median sentence of about 5 years, with a couple of third of them granted parole.

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Earlier than her conviction, the U.S. State Division declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained” — a cost that Russia has sharply rejected.

Reflecting rising stress on the Biden administration to do extra to carry Griner dwelling, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the bizarre step of unveiling publicly in July that Washington had made a “substantial proposal” to get Griner dwelling, together with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.

Blinken did not elaborate, however The Related Press and different information organizations have reported that Washington has provided to trade Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms supplier who’s serving a 25-year sentence within the U.S. and as soon as earned the nickname the “service provider of loss of life.”

The White Home stated it has not but acquired a productive response from Russia to the provide.

Russian diplomats have refused to touch upon the U.S. proposal and urged Washington to debate the matter in confidential talks, avoiding public statements.

In September, U.S. President Joe Biden met with Cherelle Griner, the spouse of Brittney Griner, in addition to the participant’s agent, Lindsay Colas. Biden additionally sat down individually with Elizabeth Whelan, Paul Whelan’s sister.

The White Home stated after the conferences that the president careworn to the households his “continued dedication to working by way of all accessible avenues to carry Brittney and Paul dwelling safely.”

The U.S. and Russia carried out a prisoner swap in April. Moscow launched U.S. Marines veteran Trevor Reed in trade for the U.S. releasing a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

Moscow additionally has pushed for the discharge of different Russians in U.S. custody.

One in all them is Alexander Vinnik, who was accused of laundering billions of {dollars} by way of a bootleg cryptocurrency trade. Vinnik was arrested in Greece in 2017 and extradited to the U.S. in August.

Vinnik’s French lawyer, Frederic Belot, advised Russian newspaper Izvestia final month that his consumer hoped to be a part of a doable swap.

The newspaper speculated that one other doable candidate was Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker. He was sentenced in 2017 to 27 years in jail on fees from a hacking and bank card fraud scheme.

The video within the media participant above was utilized in a earlier report.

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