Brittney Griner update: WNBA star visits penal colony where abuse and forced labor are common

American basketball star Brittney Griner detained at Russian airport

A Russian court has rejected American basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal to reduce her prison sentence for drug possession.

Tuesday’s refusal paves the way for a nine-year sentence in a penal colony for Ms Griner, unless the US government is able to broker a deal for her release.

In his closing statement, videotaped from a detention center outside Moscow, Griner noted how mentally taxing his eight months in detention and two trials had been, adding, “I barely exceeded the amount important [of cannabis oil] … People who committed more serious crimes received less than I received.”

“I had no intention of doing that,” she concluded, before asking the court to take into account the fact that she had pleaded guilty.

The White House immediately quashed the verdict, calling it “a sham new legal proceeding” in a statement released Tuesday morning while the US Embassy in Moscow lamented it was another “sad day.” for the rule of law in Russia”.

Lawyers for the 32-year-old said in a statement on Tuesday that it could be “up to a few months” before she is transferred to a penal colony, where she is expected to serve the remainder of her sentence.

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Welcome to our live coverage of Brittney Griner’s appeal hearing in a Russian court on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 05:00

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Brittney Griner will appear via video link at today’s hearing

Brittney Griner will appear at today’s hearing via video link from the detention center where she is being held, her attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said.

The American Olympian will make her appeal against a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession.

His lawyers expect a verdict the same day.

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 05:27

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What happened to WNBA star Brittney Griner and why is she being held in Russia?

WNBA star Brittney Griner, 31, has been detained in Russia since February after illegal cannibas oil was allegedly found in her luggage by officials at a Moscow airport.

His detention took place shortly before Russia launched its war in Ukraine, with geopolitical tensions arguably making it more difficult to secure his release.

Ms Griner’s family, friends and fans – as well as many public figures – have been asking Russia for months to release her and the US State Department to intervene.

Lily The Independents detailed report.

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 06:15

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Griner says she expects no miracles but hopes for a reduced duration

Ahead of her appeal to a Moscow court, the American basketball star said she didn’t have very high hopes for the outcome, but hopes the court will hear her defense case.

Griner is seeking a reduced sentence after being sentenced to nine years in prison in a drug trafficking case.

“She is very nervous awaiting the appeal hearing,” her attorneys said in a statement.

“Brittney doesn’t expect miracles to happen but hopes the appeals court will hear the defense’s arguments and reduce the term.”

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 07:00

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What results are expected from Brittney Griner’s appeal hearing

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been locked up in Moscow for eight months and could face years of additional incarceration if an upcoming appeal does not sway Russian courts.

Griner plans to appeal the nine-year prison sentence she was sentenced to serve after a Russian court found her guilty of smuggling and possession of banned substances.

The nine-year sentence was just short of the 10-year maximum sentence for the crime, which Griner’s lawyers called “excessive.”

His lawyers pointed out that the average sentence in cases like his tends to be around five years, and around a third of convicts serving time for these crimes are granted parole, according to ESPN.

Read the report by Graig Graziosi.

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 07:45

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Brittney Griner at ‘weakest moment’ in Russia, wife says

Brittney Griner is at her “absolute weakest time in life right now,” Griner’s wife said in an interview earlier this month.

Cherelle Griner told CBS News “This morningthat his wife, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who played in Russia during the WNBA offseason, is afraid of being forgotten by the United States.

“She is very afraid of being abandoned and forgotten in Russia, or just completely used against her,” said Cherelle Griner.

She said Brittney Griner told her in a phone call that she felt like “my life just didn’t matter”.

“Like, you just don’t see the need to drive me home? Am I nothing? Cherelle Griner quoted his wife as saying. The date of the call was unclear, although CBS aired its program on October 6.

(AP)

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 09:00

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Three most likely outcomes from today’s hearing

After Brittney Griner’s lawyers made their case in court today for her to receive a reduced sentence, her team foresee three possible outcomes.

Alexander Boykov of the Moscow Law Center and Maria Blagovolina, partner at law firm Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners, said the first outcome could be that the court does not change the initial verdict. In this case, his nine-year sentence in a Russian penal colony would stand.

In a second possible outcome, the court could decide to overturn the sentence and send it back to the lower court for reconsideration.

Alternatively, the appeals court can unilaterally decide to reduce Griner’s prison sentence without returning the case to the original court that sentenced her.

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 9:45 a.m.

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Griner’s appeal hearing has been delayed

A Russian court has delayed the start of Brittney Griner’s appeal hearing against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession.

The hearing was scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. local time (6:00 a.m. EST), but was pushed back two hours following a request from Griner’s attorneys.

His lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, asked for the postponement because they had been held up to go to court.

The hearing will now begin at 3:00 p.m. local time (8:00 a.m. EST).

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 10:36 am

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Griner pictured as she awaits a delayed appeal hearing

Brittney Griner participates in the session held at the Moscow Regional Court via video call from a detention center where she is being held.

She was pictured caged in her jail cell in the first footage of her during the hearing.

The hearing was adjourned for two hours at the request of Griner’s lawyers

(Reuters)

American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony in August for drug trafficking, is seen on a screen via video link from a remand center ahead of a court hearing.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 10:47 am

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Brittany Griner could be transferred to an infamous penal colony if the United States is unable to secure her return

Brittany Griner will be transferred to a Russian penal colony if the court confirms her nine-year prison sentence today, and the United States fails to reach an agreement for a prisoner exchange.

His lawyers said that if the decision of the Khimki city court is upheld, “the legal proceedings would be practically over”.

The US State Department said Griner was “wrongfully detained” and the Biden administration said it was negotiating a deal with Russia to release the WNBA star.

His wife Cherelle Griner expressed fears about the possibility, saying, “My brain can’t even imagine it,” in a CBS interview.

Russia’s network of penal colonies has at least 650 penal establishments that are barracks and dormitory-style detention camps – and have a reputation for being among the worst detention camps in the world.

Locals perform hard labor once they arrive there by train journey that can last more than a month, and communication with the prisoner is almost always unstable.

A US State Department report found that overcrowding, poor sanitation and heating, and food shortages are among the camps’ main problems, along with reports of systemic abuse, such as torture and sexual violence. .

Shweta SharmaOctober 25, 2022 11:00 am

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