Lee Heidhues 10.25.2022
Most of America and the World has probably forgotten or is trying to ignore the horrific prison sentence meted out to American professional basketball player Brittney Griner.
Brittney is now looking at spending the next nine years incarcerated in a Russian prison after her Appeal was predictably rejected by a Putin judicial lackey Judge Yelena Vorontsova.
Convicted of possessing a miniscule amount of hash oil, Brittney is just another pawn in warmonger Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
Excerpted from The Moscow Times 10.25.2022
The 32-year-old was handed nine years in prison in August after security officers at a Moscow airport found vape cartridges with a small quantity of cannabis oil in her luggage in February.
She pleaded guilty to the charges but said she did not intend to smuggle drugs into Russia, while her defense lawyers presented doctors’ notes authorizing her to use medical marijuana, which is illegal in Russia
“I really hope that the court will adjust this sentence because it has been very, very stressful and very traumatic,” Griner told the Moscow regional court in the city of Krasnogorsk, appearing via video link.
Judge Yelena Vorontsova announced that the star athlete’s sentence would remain unchanged, RIA Novosti reported.
In a statement published on the White House website, U.S. President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan slammed the court’s ruling as a “sham judicial procedure.”
Statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the Continued Wrongful Detention of Brittney Griner
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. 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.
Ahead of the hearing, Griner’s lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement that “Brittney does not expect any miracles to happen but hopes that the appeal court will hear the arguments of the defense and reduce the term.”
Her legal team has the ability to appeal the verdict again in a higher court following Tuesday’s decision.
When she was arrested, the two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Women’s NBA champion had been in Russia to play for the professional Yekaterinburg team, during her off-season from the Phoenix Mercury.
In August, Moscow said it was ready to discuss a prisoner swap for Griner, but there has been no apparent progress.
Media reports have suggested that Griner and another American jailed in Russia, Paul Whelan — a former U.S. Marine arrested in December 2018 and accused of spying — could be traded for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms trafficker serving 25 years in jail on a 2012 conviction.