Brittney Griner’s appeal rejected by Russian court

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A Russian court on Tuesday dismissed American basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal against her more than nine years in prison for drug possession.

The basketball star has been imprisoned since her arrest on February 17 after she was accused of entering Russia with vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil. which is illegal in Russia. Her lawyers said it was prescribed as part of the treatment of chronic pain and other conditions.

The US government describes her arrest as an “unlawful detention.”

As Brittney Griner turns 32 in prison, ‘#WeAreBG’ is a reminder of her plight

Griner appeared in court on Tuesday via a video link from detention outside Moscow. Her lawyers asked for a suspended sentence, while Russian prosecutors insisted that 9½ years, just over the 10-year maximum, is reasonable. Griner’s lawyers previously said she did not expect “miracles.”

“We are very disappointed,” Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, Griner’s lawyers, said in a statement. “We still find the punishment excessive and contrary to existing legal practice.”

Griner addressed the court through an interpreter. “I want to apologize for this mistake,” she said. “It was not my intention to do this, but I understand the allegations that have been made against me,” she added, adding that she hoped her admission of guilt would be taken into account.

Griner’s lawyers said they would consult with their client about the possibility of further appeal, and that they intended to use “all available legal instruments”. Once the appeals process is over, she will be transferred to a penal colony.

Brittney Griner is sent to a Russian penal colony. Here’s what you need to know.

Russia has one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe. Most of its prison facilities are known as penal colonies, where prisoners are required to do labor. Investigations by Russian media have revealed abuse of prisoners in such facilities.

The White House condemned the court’s ruling on Tuesday. “We are aware of news from Russia that Brittney Griner will continue to be unjustly detained under unacceptable conditions after facing yet another sham trial today,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “President Biden has been very clear that Brittney must be released immediately.”

One way to resolve her situation — and that of Paul Whelan, a former US Marine also imprisoned in Russia — could be a prisoner exchange. Griner’s biggest fear is that she will not be exchanged and will have to serve the entire sentence in Russia, her lawyers said.

“In recent weeks, the Biden-Harris administration has continued to engage with Russia through every available channel, doing all it can to bring Brittney home and support other Americans held in Russia, including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan. and plead.” said Sullivan.

Russia wants Viktor Bout back. The question is: why?

In August, Russia acknowledged for the first time that negotiations were underway to release Griner and Whelan, but did not confirm media reports of a possible trade for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

Griner, a 6-foot-9 center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained on Feb. 17 when she attempted to enter Russia at Sheremetyevo International Airport, near Moscow, where she plays during the WNBA off-season. She turned 32 a week ago while incarcerated, an opportunity family and friends used to demand her release and safe return to the United States.

As Brittney Griner turns 32 in prison, ‘#WeAreBG’ is a reminder of her plight

Tuesday’s ruling came in the wake of a Moscow court’s decision Monday to dismiss the appeal of Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who wanted the approval of his pre-trial detention. He is accused of spreading false information after criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, said in an Oct. 6 interview with CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King that she’s been able to talk to the basketball star twice on the phone since her incarceration and that the second call was “disturbing.” her in tears for days.

“It was the most disturbing phone call I’ve ever had,” Cherelle Griner said. “You could hear she wasn’t okay.”

Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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