On Tuesday, A Russian court denied Brittney Griner’s request for an appeal from the conviction decision she received earlier this week. Griner was found guilty for smuggling vape cartridges containing THC into Russia in February of this year. The cartridges contained about one gram of hash oil, and was found by security as Griner arrived at an airport in Moscow. Her arrest came at arguably the worst possible time, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, creating tension between everyone involved. Since her arrest, Griner has been held in a Russian prison cell awaiting her fate. On Tuesday, a Russian court sentenced Brittney to nine years in a penal colony. The United States have mentioned the idea of trading Griner’s freedom for an arms dealer, Viktor Bout, but this offer has not been publicly responded to.
After nearly nine months in prison, Griner was allowed to speak remotely at her sentencing. “I’ve been here almost eight months, and people with more severe crimes have gotten less than what I was given. I wanted to also apologize for this mistake. I did not intend to do this, but I understand the charges brought against me. And I hope that is taken into account.” Griner and her attorneys are in agreement that this punishment is far too harsh for the crime committed, and is lengthy in comparison to others facing similar charges.