A Russian court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner. She had previously pled guilty to attempting to bring hashish oil onto a domestic flight on Feb. 17th with her Russian Premiere League team.
The Russians levied a nine-year sentence against her, which she is to serve in a penal colony.
Griner’s team did not expect any miracles at her appeal date. The imprisoned star had refused her lawyers’ offer to bring her a basketball, saying it would be “too painful” to play the sport while incarcerated.
A “top diplomat,” who attend the event told the BBC that the sentence was “disproportionate and excessive.”
Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boykov, told the court, “No judge, hand on heart, will honestly say that Griner’s nine-year sentence is in line with Russian criminal law.”
Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico who now works hostage situations with his self-titled foundation, previously said he was “cautiously optimistic” that Griner would be released by the end of the year. An aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin threw water on that idea, saying Griner’s release was “not a priority.”
The Biden Administration has said negotiation efforts are ongoing.