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Brittney Griner's wife shares distressing message from her in Russian prison

Brittney Griner's wife shares distressing message from her in Russian prison

WNBA star Brittney Griner has spoken out from inside the Russian prison via her wife.

WNBA star Brittney Griner has spoken out from inside her Russian prison via her wife.

Griner, an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association, was arrested at a Russian airport on 17 February, 2022, after police allegedly found her in possession of 0.7g of cannabis oil located in her vape cartridge.

On Thursday, 4 August, the 31-year-old was sentenced to nine years in prison and received a fine of one million rubles (roughly £13,400 or $16,500).

Brittney has since spoken out from prison via her wife, Cherelle Griner.

Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia.
Sipa US/ Alamy Stock Photo

Brittney's defence team have appealed the decision, arguing the punishment is too severe – Brittney has received nine out of a maximum of 10 years in prison.

The team maintain the two-time Olympic gold medallist was prescribed the cannabis oil to treat chronic pain.

They also argue Brittney – who admitted to possessing the cannabis oil – packed her belongings in a rush and never intended to bring the cannabis oil to Russia, only planning to use it while in Arizona where medical marijuana is legal.

As well as the appeal, a potential prisoner swap is also on the cards between the US and Russian governments, with US President Joe Biden having talked with Brittney's wife, Cherelle, in September at the White House to go over a proposal that he views as 'substantial' in getting Brittney safely returned home.

As a swap for Brittney, Russia wants Viktor Bout – an illegal arms dealer who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the US – returned. Another US prisoner and another Russian prisoner are also part of the possible 'two-for-two' prisoner swap proposal.

However, Brittney's wife has since told CBS' This Morning her wife thinks her life 'doesn't matter' to the US anymore.

Cherelle said: "She’s very afraid about being left and forgotten in Russia, or just completely used to the point of her detriment."

Cherelle also said there's 'another party in this situation', as they're also dealing with 'the need for Russia to have mercy on BG (Brittney) as well,' in particular Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

"I'm gonna continue to pray every day that, you know, the people that are the decision-makers in this situation will have mercy and will sit down, and they will too see that your life matters, and do whatever they can to agree – on terms," Cherelle told her wife when Brittney expressed her concerns.

Griner, an eight-time all-star with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, has her appeal hearing currently set for 25 October.

Although, even getting to the day of the appeal is set to be a struggle for the Griners. Cherelle recalled how her second phone call with her imprisoned wife was 'the most disturbing phone call [she's] ever experienced' and caused her to 'cry for about two, three days straight'.

Cherelle continued: "You could hear that she was not ok. If you think about just a person's suffering and when they have suffered to a max [...] she was at the max that day."

The appeal could also result in Brittney being sent elsewhere in Russia, potentially to a labour camp, which Cherelle said her 'brain can't even fathom'.

Cherelle added: "I don’t know if she has anything left in her tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she has no one."

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US / REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Russia, World News, US News, Sport