Brittney Griner Shares Message as WNBA Star Marks 32nd Birthday in Russian Prison

by Tia Bailey
Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia. Griner shared a statement on her 32nd birthday from Russia.

Griner has been held in Russia for months. Officials detained her after finding vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in the Sheremetyevo airport. She has been detained in Moscow ever since. Many have spoken out about her imprisonment.

The WNBA star recently had her 32nd birthday. She shared a message through her lawyer. CNN correspondent Ana Cabrera shared the statement on Twitter, writing: “Brittney Griner releases message on her 32nd birthday (in a statement shared by her lawyer): ‘Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me.'”

Russian courts found Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling on August 4, sentencing her to nine years in prison along with a 1 million ruble fine ($16,000). They stated that she committed the crime deliberately, despite her statements sharing that she did not mean to break the law.

Griner’s legal team shared a statement to E! News after the ruling.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict,” they wrote. “As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality. The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice. Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal.”

They did file an appeal, and a hearing will take place on October 25.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, shared a statement on Instagram on her wife’s birthday as well.

Family, Friends, and More Speak Out About Brittney Griner’s Imprisonment

“Today marks eight months without my person! I could never forget you, and will not rest until you’re home. You should be home. It’s time to bring BG home!! #BRINGHERHOME #WeAreBG,” she wrote.

NBA star Stephen Curry also shared a statement about Griner on NBA opening night. He wished her a happy birthday, and called for her release.

“We are going to continue to let her name be known and we pray… it’s 243 days that she’s been wrongfully incarcerated in Russia, we hope that she comes home soon and everybody’s doing their part to get her home,” he said.

President Joe Biden has even said that he would meet with Vladimir Putin if we agreed to about the athlete’s release.

“Look, I have no intention of meeting with him, but look, if he came to me at the G20 and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I would meet with him, but that would depend,” Biden said, according to PEOPLE.

Griner’s appeal date is less than a week away.