It seems that Brittney Griner will be serving her complete nine-year sentence in a Russian jail after the communist nation’s court rejected the appeal of her drug possession conviction on Tuesday, October 25th.
On the other hand, according to the Associated Press, it might just be a ploy to get the White House to engage in a “high-stakes prison swap” between countries.
As reported by AllHipHop.com, the U.S. basketball player, who is an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted over the summer of drug charges after she tried to board a plane at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to exit the country with a couple of vape canisters with cannabis oil (which is illegal in the country).
She did not deny having the vapes but said she accidentally packed them in her bag, rushing to catch her flight. In addition, she said in America, she had been prescribed cannabis to treat her chronic pain.
Her legal team presented written statements from her medical professionals— still it didn’t fly with the Big Reds.
“I’ve been here almost eight months, and people with more severe crimes have gotten less than what I was given. I want to also apologize for this mistake, and I said in my first part, that, yes I pleaded guilty. I did not intend to do this, but I understand the charges brought against me. And I just hope that that is also taken into account too as well, that I did guilty,” Brittney Griner said from her cell during the court hearing.
The 32-year-old baller did not appear live in the Moscow Regional Court but was zapped in via video from the penal colony where she is being held outside the capital. She spoke on her situation from behind bars.
Griner has been sentenced to close to the max of 10 years, basically ending her career as a player and compromising her financial stability.
Her lawyers reviewed the average sentence for such a crime, and it is nearly half the sentence, and almost 1/3 of those convicted for the crime have been granted parole.
They claim her sentencing is excessive, and many in the public add she is being used in an international game of political chess.
Let’s hope this is not a stalemate.