Bring Brittney Griner home
The GIST: Yesterday marked the 250th day of Brittney Griner’s wrongful detainment in Russia, and it brought another devastating update in the WNBA star’s case — the appeal of her nine-year sentence was rejected by a Russian court. Heartbreaking.
The latest: Per the Wall Street Journal, the court’s rejection was largely expected, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying. Plus, it also means BG could soon be transferred from the relatively safer Moscow jail she’s currently being held in to a Russian penal colony, which are notorious for human rights abuse. Truly unfathomable.
The response: The WNBA Players Association (WNBPA) highlighted just how harsh BG’s sentence is, even by Russian legal standards. “This appeal is further verification that BG is not just wrongfully detained,” they wrote. “She is very clearly a hostage.”
- WNBPA president and LA Spark Nneka Ogwumike (pronounced NECK-uh Oh-gwoo-muh-kay ) echoed that message, saying, “She’s being detained because she’s an American. We have to do better and understand that it’s on us to bring her back.”
What’s next: The news returns the focus to a potential prisoner swap. Earlier this summer, the U.S. reportedly offered convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner and another wrongfully detained American, former Marine Paul Whelan, but have not received a serious counter offer.
- And there probably won’t be one in the immediate future. Russia isn’t expected to truly engage in negotiations until after the November 8th U.S. midterm elections to avoid a political win that could help the Biden administration at the polls.
- Meanwhile, there’s no exact timeline for BG’s transfer to the penal colony, but her attorneys have said the process can take weeks or months. The call remains the same: bring her home.