Brittney Griner spent her 32nd birthday in a Russian prison, awaiting an enchantment to her nine-year sentence for drug possession that is set for subsequent week.
The WNBA star has been particularly down currently, based on her attorneys. They have been together with her for a part of her birthday on Tuesday.
Maria Blagovolina, a accomplice at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin, mentioned it wasn’t a lot of a celebration, however that Griner’s attorneys handed alongside nicely needs from household and buddies.
“She did smile, it was really good to see her smiling,” Blagovolina wrote in an e mail to The Associated Press.
Griner later launched an announcement by way of her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.
“Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me,” Griner mentioned.
Griner’s enchantment listening to is scheduled for Oct. 25. While it is unlikely the enchantment will overturn her conviction, her attorneys hope it might reduce the sentence.
“We hope the term of the sentence will be reduced,” Blagovolina mentioned.
Griner was convicted Aug. 4 in an unusually swift verdict and given an extended sentence than most Russians receiver for comparable offenses. The 6-foot-9 middle, who performed professionally in Russia in the course of the WNBA offseason, was detained on Feb. 17, per week earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine.
Police mentioned they discovered vape canisters with marijuana oil in Griner’s baggage at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. Her attorneys mentioned she had been prescribed marijuana for ache, and Griner mentioned she had inadvertently packed them and had no felony intent.
Griner can also be ready for a possible swap of prisoners between Russia and the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the bizarre step of unveiling publicly in July that Washington had made a “substantial proposal” to get Griner house, together with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.
Blinken did not elaborate, however The AP and different information organizations have reported that Washington has supplied to change Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms vendor who’s serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. and as soon as earned the nickname the “merchant of death.”
The White House mentioned it has not but acquired a productive response from Russia to the provide.
Her family and friends try to maintain Griner’s title in the forefront of individuals’s minds amid delicate negotiations between the U.S. and Russia that appear to be stalled.
“I pray for her mental health and sanity and us doing what we can do to help keep her name out there,” mentioned South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who coached Griner finally 12 months’s Tokyo Olympics. “To get her home. I hope it’s at a time that’s sooner rather than later. She’s one of our own in an incredible situation, It’s going to take positive synergy, prayers, and some powerful people making some deals to get her home.”
Golden State guard Stephen Curry took time in the course of the Warriors’ championship ring ceremony Tuesday night time to make an impassioned plea in help of Griner.
“We want to continue to use our platform and the opportunity to shout out a very special member of the basketball community. Brittney Griner’s birthday is today, she’s 32,” Curry advised the group earlier than the defending NBA champions beat the Los Angeles Lakers. “We want to continue to let her name be known and we pray … it’s been 243 days since she was wrongfully incarcerated in Russia. We hope that she comes home soon, that everybody’s doing their part to get her home.”
The U.S. girls’s workforce gained its fourth consecutive World Cup title earlier this month and captain Breanna Stewart mentioned that the medal was devoted to Griner, who would have been on the workforce had she not been in jail.
Griner was honoured when she heard that from her attorneys.