Just one day after a Russian court upheld Brittney Griner’s nine-year prison term for drug usage, the Kremlin issued a warning against any public conversations about a potential prisoner swap that includes the WNBA star.
When asked if Griner could be freed as part of a prisoner swap brokered by the White House on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned: “We constantly say that any contacts about possible exchanges can only be undertaken in quiet under a tight lid on any information.”
Peskov made a comparable declaration in August in response to widely reported claims that the deal under discussion involved Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer currently serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.
BRITTNEY GRINER’S ATTORNEYS DECLARE THE WNBA STAR’S “BIGGEST FEAR” GOING FORWARD IN THE FACE OF APPEAL REJECTION
He reportedly added at the time, according to Reuters, “If we discuss prisoner exchanges via the press then they will never take place.”
Griner was detained on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after being accused by Russian authorities of having vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage. Despite entering a plea of guilty, the two-time Olympic gold winner maintained that she brought the drugs by accident and had no intention of breaking the law.
During the trial, Griner’s attorneys asserted that the drug had been prescribed to help her manage her pain.
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Tuesday’s hearing on an appeal resulted in Griner’s nine-year sentence being upheld.
“It’s not what we expected,” I said. Attorneys for Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, expressed their disappointment on Tuesday. “There are various errors in the verdict, and we thought the court of appeal would take them into account.” We continue to believe that the punishment is harsh and goes against accepted court procedure.
The biggest worry that Brittney has is that she won’t be exchanged and would end up serving her entire term in Russia. She had hopes for today since she valued every month and day she spent apart from her friends and family.