Breaking News & Updates

The Russian court maintained Brittney Griner’s 9-year prison term

The basketball star from Texas had asked for his sentence to be put on hold. The White House wants her to be freed. 
Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that gives you the most important news from Texas.

After what a White House official called a “sham” trial, a Russian court upheld Brittney Griner’s 9-year sentence to a Russian prison colony on Tuesday.

Brittney Griner’s 9-year prison term:

The Russian court maintained Brittney Griner's 9-year prison term
The Russian court maintained Brittney Griner’s 9-year prison term


In February, Griner was taken into custody at a Moscow airport after airport workers found vape canisters and cannabis oil in her bags. But people in the United States didn’t hear that she was being held until March. She admitted that she brought drugs into the country. In August, a Russian court gave her a prison sentence of nine years. Multiple news sources said that Griner’s lawyer had asked for a suspended sentence in Tuesday’s appeal. But that they weren’t expecting any “miracles.”

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the court’s decision means Griner will soon start serving her sentence, unless the Biden administration can negotiate her release. Cherelle Griner, who is married to Griner, was worried about this possibility earlier this month.

Cherelle Griner said earlier this month, “Once that hearing is over and the order is final, she could be sent to a work camp.” “I can’t even wrap my head around it.” 
Brittney Griner has been playing professionally in Russia since 2014. The White House has been trying for months to get her out of jail there. The WNBA player has a prescription for medical marijuana in Arizona. But it is against the law in Russia to have any amount of the drug. Experts say that the length of her sentence seems to be based on politics.

Concerns have also been raised about the harsh conditions. In Russian prisons and how Griner. Who is gay, will be treated in a country that is known for persecuting gay people.

Jake Sullivan, the White House’s National Security Advisor, said in a statement that Griner should be freed right away.

The Biden-Harris administration, he added, “has continued to work with Russia via every available channel and make every attempt to bring Brittney home. As well as support and advocate for other Americans being held in Russia, like Paul Whelan, who was also wrongly arrested.”

The New York Times has given money to The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that gets some of its money from donations from members, foundations, and corporations. The Tribune’s journalism is not affected by who gives it money.