It’s been over a month since WNBA star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on account of drug smuggling.
As of now, the most recent status update on the basketball player is from her lawyer Maria Blagovolina. Moving forward, the plan is to attempt to appeal the charges or do a possible prisoner exchange. According to Blagovolina, Griner is uneasy about the outcome of both options. “Brittney is stressed and very much concerned with the future,” the legal representative shared.
Following being sentenced on account of smuggling drugs into the country, her lawyers were quick to call her 9-year prison stay “absolutely unreasonable” and expressed a desire to appeal the charges as soon as possible. However, Russia has notably low success rates for the appeal process. Despite this, her legal team believes anything is worth trying.
Blagovolina said, “We need to use every legal opportunity that we have, and appeal is one of these opportunities.”
The appeal process is set to begin in a couple of months, as the legal system in Russia moves at a relatively slow rate. As the legal team prepares for Griner’s defense, she does not know what to expect next but is hopeful for a possible prisoner exchange. Her lawyers relayed that the athlete is, “quite happy to know that she’s not been forgotten and that there are some possible development
President Joe Biden plans to meet with Brittney Griner’s family, amongst other detainees
Throughout this process, the Biden administration has been diligently working to bring home American prisoners that are being detained across seas. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently discussed in a press conference President Joe Biden’s plan to meet with families of detainees and develop a plan to bring them back to the United States.
“As we have said before, we believe that Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittany [Griner] and Paul under intolerable circumstances,” Jean-Pierre emphasized.
Despite talks of a prisoner exchange, Russia has indicated that they are not particularly thrilled about an arrangement of that caliber, which has made the process more difficult. “I would love to say that the purpose of this meeting is to inform the families that the Russians have accepted our offer and we are bringing their loved ones home. That is not what we’re seeing in these negotiations at this time,” Jean-Pierre said.
The secretary added, “Look, as we’ve said, the Russians should accept our offer. They should accept our offer today. We will keep working diligently until the day we get to share that good news.”
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