Brittney Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison sentence for cannabis possession was denied by a Russian court on Tuesday, according to news reports.
At the hearing, court officials said Griner’s prison time would be adjusted to reflect the time she’s already served in pretrial detention, with each day there counting as 1 1/2 days in prison, according to The Associated Press.
“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,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a statement from the White House. “President Biden has been very clear that Brittney should be released immediately. 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. 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.”
The eight-time WNBA al-star (seven as a player, one as honorary member in 2022) was originally charged with possessing cannabis vape cartridges while traveling through Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow in February.
Griner was convicted of cannabis possession charges on Aug. 4 after a more than month-long trial that began July 1. In addition to her nine-year prison sentence in August, Griner was fined 1 million rubles ($16,950 USD) by Judge Anna Sotnikova.
Later in August, Griner’s legal defense team filed an appeal with Griner maintaining she made an “honest mistake,” according to NBC News, in traveling through Russia with cannabis products.
After the appeal was rejected Tuesday, Griner’s lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said they would discuss with Griner their next legal steps, according to the AP.