Brittney Griner’s 9-year sentence has been upheld after she lost her appeal in a Russian court. On Tuesday (Oct. 25), the 32-year-old attended a hearing through a video call where she pleaded on her own behalf.
“This has been [a] very traumatic experience, waiting for this day, waiting for the first court, and getting nine years for a crime that I was barely over the significant amount,” Griner explained according to CBS News.
“I don’t understand the first court’s decision to give one year less than the max when I’ve been here almost 8 months, and people with more severe crimes have gotten less than what I was given… I really hope that the court will adjust this sentence, because it’s been very, very stressful and very traumatic to my mental and psyche, being away from my family and not being able to communicate.”
The outlet reported Griner’s 9-year sentence was recalculated to around 8 years, noting her time spent in pre-trial detention. The WNBA star still has the opportunity to appeal with a higher Russian court however, her legal team has not confirmed its next move.
At the time of her sentencing in August, President Joe Biden issued a statement regarding what he called Russia’s “wrongful detainment” of Griner. In July, the New York Times reported President Joe Biden’s administration offered to release convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout for both Griner and Paul Whelan, another U.S. citizen in Russian custody.
After the decision to uphold Griner’s sentence was announced, The White House issued a new statement.
“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,” the statement explained.
“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 Union for WNBA players has issued an updated statement in support of Griner following the rejection of her appeal, issuing a call-to-action, writing the decision is “further verification that BG is not just wrongfully detained -– she is very clearly a hostage.”
The statement continued as follows:
“Let us not be divided in this moment. Rallying around BG and all wrongfully detained Americans is the common thread of humanity that unites us without regard to ideology or political party. We must unite and support the stated public commitment of the Biden Administration and Congressional leaders to do everything possible to get her home.
“Likewise, we strongly encourage leadership at FIBA, USA Basketball, and across the entire global sport community to voice their support for BG and join our campaign with a daily, public call to action. No athlete should be used as a political pawn.”