Brittney Griner Aug 8, 2021; Saitama, Japan; United States centre Brittney Griner (15) reacts to a call against Japan in the women’s basketball gold medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner celebrated her 32nd birthday in a Russian prison after she was found guilty of drug charges and is now serving a nine-year sentence in prison after accidentally traveling with found vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative that had been prescribed to her by a doctor.

Griner’s birthday seemed to reignite interest in her legal situation on Tuesday as many around the country took to social media to pay tribute to Griner. The WNBA star also released a statement through her lawyers saying “thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home.”

But Griner’s birthday also ignited a bit of controversy. In many tribute posts on Tuesday, the words “wrongfully imprisoned” or “wrongfully incarcerated” were used, drawing the ire of many who pointed out that Brittney Griner is not innocent of breaking Russian law since she did bring the vape cartridges into the country.

Though Griner was found guilty of the charges, experts pretty unanimously considered the entire trial process a political sham with Griner never having a hope of beating the charges. Griner’s wife has also suggested that her imprisonment is similar to a hostage situation with political ramifications.

Wrongfully imprisoned or not, however, United States President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in ongoing negotiations as the two sides are reportedly working on a potential prisoner swap. While Russia has indicated that Griner’s case was not a current priority for the regime, the United States remains persistent in the negotiations.