Today (Oct. 25), a Russian court denied Brittney Griner’s request to have her nine-year prison sentence appealed. As previously reported by REVOLT, in February, the eight-time WNBA All-Star was detained overseas for traveling through an airport with cannabis oil that was prescribed by a doctor in America to treat chronic pain.
According to AP News, the time Brittney has already spent detained will count toward her prison sentence, leaving her to serve about eight years. The Phoenix Mercury star appeared before the court from a jail cell via video. Attorneys for the athlete have argued that the sentence does not fit the crime, noting that Americans in similar situations have been released after paying a fine.
The Brittney Griner situation is a complete nightmare. With a denied appeal, she'll be moved to a Russian penal colonial and the possibility of her getting out anytime soon is bleak. Imagine.
If you can't feel some kind of empathy for her or her family, I just —
my heart hurts
— Lyndsey D'Arcangelo (@darcangel21) October 25, 2022
Last week, Brittney celebrated her 32nd birthday while in Russia’s custody. As a way to honor her, her wife, Cherelle Griner, launched WeAreBg.org. The site raises awareness for the Olympian’s case and allows fans to send her messages of support. Many, like the WNBA organization, kept hope alive with tweets: “Happy Birthday Brittney Griner, we will not forget about you and we will not stop fighting for you. The W won’t be the same until you’re home.”
Since her February detainment, politicians and fellow athletes have demanded her freedom. President Biden has made several public pleas to have Brittney released from the “wrongful” detention. In June, pro boxer Roy Jones Jr. discussed her case, saying, “Would I put my life on the line [and] take a chance to go to Russia to exchange prisoners? Yes, I would.” He continued, “Why? Because if it was my daughter, I would want somebody to do the same thing for me.”
As news of the verdict spreads, those who have offered support have been left shocked and saddened. Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, a writer for the WNBA, tweeted, “The Brittney Griner situation is a complete nightmare. With a denied appeal, she’ll be moved to a Russian penal colonial and the possibility of her getting out anytime soon is bleak. Imagine. If you can’t feel some kind of empathy for her or her family, I just — my heart hurts.”