Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner is having a tough time in Russian prison.
Last month, a Russian court rejected Brittney Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession. Griner will serve around eight years in prison unless the U.S. and Russia come to an agreement on a potential prisoner swap in the future.
While on ABC’s “The View” this Tuesday, Cherelle Griner spoke out about how her wife is dealing mentally, and it is not good.
“She said, her mental (health), it’s not there, you know? And she told me like, ‘I’m really just trying to hold on to the last bit of you that I can remember you know?'” Griner said. “She’s like, ‘My mind is fading in here.’ And, you know, it’s just so disheartening to hear.”
Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on Feb. 17 after Russian authorities said she had vape cartridges with cannabis oil inside her luggage. She is expected to be transferred to a penal colony, which are notorious for being harsh.
“I mean, the crime and the punishment is disproportionate at its finest,” she said. “I mean, there are people convicted of murder in Russia who has a sentence way less than BG.”
As of right now, it is looking as if Griner might not see freedom until sometime in 2023. Griner’s lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said last month the WNBA star was “not expecting any miracles.”
The White House has mentioned the potential of a prisoner swap but National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said in September that Russia has not responded to the “substantial proposal” the U.S. offered back in July, a deal that includes former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
“They have not responded to our offer. We have made a serious offer to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whalen back home,” Kirby said at the time. “The Russians have not responded to that offer. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not still in negotiations.”
“We want them to accept it, frankly, these two individuals ought to be home anyway, period. But we understand that that’s probably going to have to be the result of the negotiating process, one that we’re willing to participate in honestly and fully, and we’ve been doing that. And we await them to take the offer that’s on the table.”
It has now been over eight months in Russian detention for Griner.