Brittney Griner will not be coming home for the holidays. In a disappointing decision on October 25, the WNBA star who was arrested for cannabis possession in Russia in February and convicted and sentenced to nine years in jail in August, lost her appeal and has been banished to a penal colony.
The court appearance was not in person. While the Russian judge called the previous ruling "fair," Griner's attorney Alexander Boykov said, "No judge, hand on heart, will honestly say that Griner's nine-year sentence is in line with Russian criminal law."
Griner's case garnered worldwide attention as tensions rose between the U.S. and Russia over the war in Ukraine. Griner was caught with several cannabis oil cartridges while arriving in Russia on February 17 just as the war was starting. Griner's arrest and detention are widely viewed as political.
"No judge, hand on heart, will honestly say that Brittney Griner's nine-year sentence is in line with Russian criminal law."
The hoopster played for the Phoenix Mercury and also for a Russian team in the off season for a number of years.
The U.S. has made an offer to trade an arms dealer for Griner and another American jailed in Russia, Paul Whelan. That offer is still on the table. Diplomat Bill Richardson has been hoping to secure Griner's release by December, but that seems highly unlikely now.