The nine-year prison sentence for WNBA star Britney Grenier was confirmed Tuesday during a Moscow regional court hearing.
The Phoenix Mercury Center and its legal team had been hoping to obtain an acquittal or a reduced sentence that they believed to be too harsh and politically motivated.
“No judge will say, hand in hand, frankly that the nine-year sentence for Grenier is in line with Russian criminal law,” Alexander Boikov, one of Grenier’s lawyers, said, according to Reuters.
He added, “If the court wanted to punish her, [should] give her a new ‘fair’ sentence and a reduced sentence. The severity and severity of the sentence applied to Greiner shocked people all over the world.”
Grenier was arrested just four days before Russia invaded Ukraine in February. She is now detained for eight months. The 6-foot-9-inch center was sentenced in August and sentenced to a maximum of ten years in prison.
“I never intended to harm anyone, I never intended to endanger the Russian population, and I never intended to break any laws here,” Greiner said before the sentencing. “I made an honest mistake and I hope your judgment does not end my life here. I know everyone keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope it is far from this courtroom.”
A growing number of Americans have called on the Biden administration to do more to secure Grenier’s release. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving stepped into the microphone in midfield before the season opener for his team to invite President Joe Biden to bring Griner home.
“I appreciate our ability to share this floor together, all of us as brothers. But the big picture happening in the world is the liberation of our sister Britney Greiner. Please,” Irving shared with the home audience.
“POTUS, do your job. Everyone does your job. Please bring our sister home. We won’t do our job the best we can if we don’t believe what we believe.”
Several WNBA members also expressed their support for Griner last Tuesday on her 32nd birthday.
Happy Birthday Britney Greiner, we won’t forget you and won’t stop fighting for you. The league’s Twitter account posted.
The Biden administration had previously attempted a prisoner exchange between arms dealer “Death Dealer” Victor Bout for Greiner and American Paul Whelan. Attempts so far have proven unsuccessful.
They did not respond to our offer. We made a serious offer to bring Britney Greiner and Paul Whelan home. The Russians did not respond to this offer. That doesn’t mean that — we’re still in negotiations and we’re still trying,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last month.