Brittney Griner’s Appeal of 9 Year Sentence Rejected by Russian Court

The situation regarding WNBA player Brittney Griner has taken a slight turn for the worst as a Russian court has rejected an appeal she recently filed.

According to, Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court earlier this year for possession of drugs, had her appeal rejected as the court upheld the sentence given to her. The WNBA All-Star American basketball player was convicted on Aug. 4 after authorities in Russia said vape canisters that had cannabis oil in them were discovered in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

The hearing took place via a video call from the penal colony where Griner is currently imprisoned.

On Tuesday, the Moscow region court ruled in favor of upholding the sentence imposed on her.

According to the ruling, the court stated that the time Griner spent in pre-trial detention will now be counted as 1.5 days in prison. With that calculation, it reduces her prison time to about eight years instead of the nine she was sentenced to.

The eight-time all-star center who was a member of the Phoenix Mercury was going back to Russia, where she had been playing for a Russian team during the WNBA offseason.

During the trial she confessed to having the canisters but she unknowingly packed them in her luggage. She submitted statements saying she was prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

At the time of the incident, Russia had just started a war with Ukraine and they sent troops into their region. It’s been speculated that Griner was arrested because America is an ally of Ukraine.

The pro basketball player was sentenced close to the maximum sentence of 10 years, which her attorneys argued was excessive. They presented cases that were similar where defendants received an average sentence of five years, with approximately 33% of them being given parole.

There were earlier reports that the United States had offered a prisoner exchange in hopes of having Briner returned to America. They have allegedly offered to send a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, nicknamed the “merchant of death” in exchange for Briner and Paul Whelan, who is an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.