UPDATED 11:51 AM PT – Tuesday, October 25, 2022
A Russian court has rejected Brittney Griner’s appeal of her prison sentence.
Three Russian judges handed down the ruling Tuesday, upholding the WNBA star’s nine-year sentence for drug charges.
Griner was convicted in August, after Russian police said they found vape cartridges with cannabis in her luggage at a Moscow airport. The 32-year-old has been in jail since February. She appeared for Tuesday’s hearing through a video link.
During the hearing, the basketball star admitted to having the cartridges in her luggage. However, she maintained no criminal intent.
“I’ve been here almost eight months, and people with more severe crimes have gotten less than what I was given,” Griner said. “I wanna also apologize for this mistake, I’ve said in my first court that, yes, I plead guilty. I did not intend to do this, but I understand the charges brought against me. I just hope that that is also taken into account as well that I did plead guilty.”
Griner’s lawyers argued that the punishment was excessive and was not in line with Russian law.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan released a statement expressing that the Biden administration is continuing to engage with Russia through every channel to bring Griner home.