Russian court rejects Griner appeal; sets up potential prisoner swap with US

Brittney Griner

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has rejected an appeal by U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner of her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, a step that could move her closer to a possible high-stakes prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington.

The all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

Reflecting pressure on the U.S. administration to do more to bring Griner home, the U.S. secretary of state revealed in July that Washington had made a proposal to get Griner home, along with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.

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