Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.
An October 25th court decision to deny WNBA star, Brittney Griner, an appeal relating to her nine-year prison sentence has her wife Cherelle Griner speaking out.
She called the decision to uphold the punishment for the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s drug offense “absurd” during an appearance on “The View.”
“Honestly, it was just disheartening. It was a complete disbelief for me. I understand being in the field of law that every state, every country has their own rules, but this is just absurd,” she said.
She brought up what she believed are discrepancies in Russia’s judicial system.
“The crime and the punishment is disproportionate at its finest. There are people convicted of murder in Russia who [have] a sentence way less than B.G., and it just makes absolutely no sense to me.”
The basketball player was arrested in Moscow on February 17, 2022, at the Sheremetyevo Airport while going through security.
According to Russian officials, Griner had vape canisters with cannabis oil in her bag. It is illegal in Russia and can carry a ten-year prison sentence.
Griner was arriving in Moscow to play in Russia’s Premier League during the WNBA offseason.
She pleaded guilty to the charges but added that she inadvertently brought the hashish with her. It was not her intention to break the law.
Her attorneys also called the sentence “excessive” and “contradictory.”
They issued a statement following the verdict in July. “The verdict contains numerous defects and we hoped that the court of appeal would take them into consideration. We still think the punishment is excessive and contradicts to the existing court practice.”
Charelle views the denial of appeal as the end of the legal process regarding the case. Their only hope is for the U.S. government to step in to secure her release.
“That was the complete end of it,” she said. “There is nothing more to expect from a legal standpoint, and all eggs now are in a basket for our government and for America to see how important this issue is because this could happen to anybody, and we should be praying that we have a country that recognizes the importance of that and are willing to actually go get our Americans and bring them back home.”
When asked, Charelle said she can only look at the situation as political. The fact that they didn’t take into account who Brittney is as a person when they sentenced her leads Charelle to no other place, “it makes me feel like at this point it has to be political.”
She spoke to her wife a week before the appeal hearing. Brittney told her that her mind is fading as she sits in a Russian prison.
No matter how you feel about the situation, the idea of any American being at the mercy of the Russian judicial system is alarming.