Brittney Griner is already taking action against her long prison sentence

According to the New York Times, Brittney Griner was arrested at an airport in Russia in February after traveling with cannabis oil. Cannabis is illegal in Russia, which is why Griner was arrested and taken into custody. The WNBA star’s safety quickly became an issue for her family and friends. After her arrest, her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told ESPN in a statement, “Your mental and physical health remains our primary concern.”

Griner’s arrest came shortly after the United States issued a “do not travel” warning to Russia and a week before Russia’s “unprovoked and unwarranted attack” on Ukraine. The advisory said, “There is a possibility of harassment of foreigners throughout Russia, including through regulations specifically targeting foreigners” (via People). An updated advisory later urged Americans to leave the country immediately to avoid trouble.

Although the United States has tried to reach an agreement to release Griner, she was ultimately found guilty by a Russian court of drug smuggling and possession and sentenced to nine years in prison, according to NPR. President Joe Biden released a statement shortly after the verdict, calling Russia’s actions against Griner “unacceptable.” Biden also insisted he was working with his administration to release them. And now Griner herself is taking serious action against her sentence to return to the States.

Brittney Griner is appealing her sentence

According to People, Brittney Griner’s legal team has officially appealed her nine-year sentence. However, the court case will apparently take months. Naturally, according to the New York Post, this decision comes amid talks between Russia and the United States over a possible prisoner swap. Biden has offered to release a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, if Russia agrees to release the WNBA star and another American, Paul Whelan, per CNN. Between the pending appeal and a possible prison swap, moves are underway to hopefully return Griner to the United States.

One of Griner’s attorneys, Maria Blagovolina, told People, “We have to use every legal avenue we have, and appeal is one of those avenues.” She added that Griner “seems pretty happy that she hasn’t been forgotten and that there are some possible developments”. But Blagovolina added that the basketball star remains realistic about returning home to her family and friends soon.

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It’s unclear how and when Griner’s time in Russia will end, but it’s clear that the United States and its legal team are doing everything they can to get her back on American soil.