Russian court rejects Brittney Griner's appeal
WNBA star Brittney Griner's sentence was upheld by a Russian court on Tuesday after it rejected an appeal from the athlete.
Why it matters: Griner is expected to be moved to a penal colony, where she'll serve her prison sentence.
- The court ruling stated that it would slightly reduce Griner's original nine-year prison sentence, AP reported.
- Each day Griner served in pre-trial detention will count as 1.5 days in prison, making the recalculated prison sentence around eight years.
State of play: Griner made an appearance at the hearing by video from the detention center where she has been held since February, according to CNN.
- Griner apologized for her "honest mistake" during the appeal hearing, adding that the situation had been "very, very stressful," the BBC reported.
- In upholding her verdict, the state prosecutor described it as "fair."
- Griner's attorney Alexander Boykov had told the court that, "no judge, hand on heart, will honestly say that Griner's nine-year sentence is in line with Russian criminal law."
- The court has the option of overruling, reducing or upholding Griner's verdict or sending it back to the lower courts, per CNN.
What they're saying: "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," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Tuesday.
- "In recent weeks, the Biden-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," he added.
The big picture: Griner — whom U.S. officials maintain has been "wrongfully detained" — was found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court in August.
- The U.S. has engaged in negotiations with Russia about a potential prisoner swap to free Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.
- But an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Griner's release was not a priority for the Kremlin.
- Ahead of Tuesday's hearing, Griner's lawyers said the WNBA star did "not expect any miracles to happen."