A Russian court denied Phoenix Mercury star center Brittney Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession and smuggling Tuesday afternoon.
The court ruling stated the time Griner will have to serve in prison will be recalculated with her time in pre-trial detention, dating back to her arrest at Sheremetyevo Airport outside Moscow Feb. 17.
One day in pre-trial detention will be counted as 1.5 days in prison, according to Fox News, meaning Griner is set to serve around eight years in prison.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan released a statement on Griner’s detention.
“We are aware of the news out of Russia that Brittney Griner will continue to be wrongfully detained under intolerable circumstances after having to undergo another sham judicial proceeding today,” the statement read. “President (Joe) Biden has been very clear that Brittney should be released immediately.
“In recent weeks, the Biden-(Vice President Kamala) Harris Administration has continued to engage with Russia through every available channel and make every effort to bring home Brittney as well as to support and advocate for other Americans detained in Russia, including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan. The President has demonstrated that he is willing to go to extraordinary lengths and make tough decisions to bring Americans home, as his Administration has done successfully from countries around the world. The Administration remains in regular touch with representatives of the families, and we continue to admire their courage in the face of these unimaginable circumstances.”
249 days feels like a lifetime without your presence.— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) October 24, 2022
Bring our sister home. pic.twitter.com/d8BjeQuSjs
Per CNN, Griner said the following at her hearing via video link from her detention center, Correctional Colony No. 1 in Novoye Grishino, north of Moscow. “I’ve been here almost eight months, and people with more severe crimes have been given less than what I was given.
“I really hope the court will adjust this sentence, because it has been very, very stressful and very traumatic to my mental and my psyche and being away from my family, not being able to communicate.”
The story linked here from People shows a statement from Griner’s lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov.
Griner’s sentence, delivered Aug. 5, also included a fine of 1 million rubles ($16,400), was delivered by judge Anna Sotnikova of the Khimiki city court.
The Russian Federal Customs Service said its officials found vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in Griner’s luggage, and a criminal case was opened into her transportation of those drugs.
“I never meant to hurt anybody,” Griner said what was described to be an emotional speech before her verdict was delivered. “I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here. I made an honest mistake and I hope in your ruling that it doesn’t end my life here.”
Independent has live updates about Griner’s denied appeal.