As WNBA superstar Brittney Griner languishes in Russian jail, prosecutors are preparing to drop the hammer on her at her upcoming sentencing.
Jim Heintz of the Associated Press reported on Thursday that Russian prosecutors are pushing for 9.5 years in prison. Griner has pleaded guilty to various charges of cannabis possession.
The Phoenix Mercury superstar has been detained in Russia since February, when she was held on charges after small quantities of drugs were found in her belongings. She pleaded guilty last month in a move some believe will ultimately expedite her ability to be brought back home in a prisoner swap.
American sports fans can hardly believe what an absurd turn this situation has taken. While there are some who are glad to see her suffer, the largest contingent of reactions have been support for her:
In years past, it's possible that the United States government could have secured Brittney Griner's release a long time ago. Unfortunately, tensions between the U.S. and Russia are at the highest they've been in decades.
The United States and many other countries placed massive sanctions on Russia due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. In retaliation, Russia has held Griner as well as other Americans in prison on charges that would have been dropped in years past.
At this point, only negotiation between American and Russian politicians is likely to see Griner freed.