On October 25th, basketball superstar Brittney Griner will appear in Russian Court to appeal the 9-year-sentence handed to her for drug possession.
According to Associated Press, The Moscow region court said it will be ready to hear her appeal.
The eight-time all-star WNBA center and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted August 4th after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Griner has been detained for 229 days since her arrest, she pleaded guilty, and the Russian courts gave her nine years in prison which is just short of the 10-year max charge for such a crime. Griner’s lawyers would be willing to drop the appeal if it helps facilitate a deal to free her. President Joe Biden and the United States State Department believes that Griner is “wrongfully detained”.
In July, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the administration made a “substantial proposal” to Russia to return Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is serving 16 years after being convicted of espionage. The U.S. even proposed to swap Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence. Russian diplomats have refused to comment on the U.S. proposal and urged Washington to discuss the matter in confidential talks, avoiding public statements. Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, also met with Joe Biden to discuss the administration’s plan of action.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre conveyed in press release that Biden “held the meetings to reiterate his continued commitment to working through all available avenues to bring Brittney and Paul home safely.”