A Russian choose has sentenced and sentenced American basketball participant Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail for drug possession and trafficking.
President Joe Biden described the jail sentence as “unacceptable” and referred to as for her quick launch.
Decide Anna Sotnikova mentioned Griner’s time in custody since her arrest in February will rely in direction of the sentence.
Griner reacted to the availability with some emotion and listened to the decision with a stare into her clean face, because the choose handed down her sentence and fined the basketball participant 1 million rubles (£ 13.435).
“Right this moment, American citizen Brittney Griner acquired a jail sentence, one other reminder of what the world already is aware of: Russia is wrongly holding Brittney,” Biden mentioned in a press release.
“It’s unacceptable, and I urge Russia to launch her instantly in order that she will be along with her spouse, family members, buddies and teammates.”
The 31-year-old was arrested at Moscow airport on February 17 after police mentioned they discovered a vape field containing hashish oil in her baggage.
She pleaded responsible and earlier than the decision was delivered on Thursday, Griner advised the court docket she had no intention of breaking the legislation by flying to Russia to play basketball within the metropolis of Yekaterinburg.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my membership, the followers and the town (Yekaterinburg) for the error I made and the disgrace I dropped at them,” Griner mentioned. Her voice cracked.
“I additionally wish to apologize to my mother and father, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury again dwelling, the fantastic girls of the WNBA, and my fantastic accomplice again dwelling.
“I made an sincere mistake and I hope that, in your judgment, it doesn’t finish my life right here.”
Whereas gathering proof and presenting his findings, the choose held that Phoenix Mercury participant illegally introduced medication into Russia.
Griner’s lawyer mentioned they’d enchantment the decision, including that the court docket had ignored the proof it introduced in addition to the plea.
They mentioned they had been “disillusioned” by the ruling.
The Russian prosecutor has referred to as the two-time Olympic gold medalist to a sentence of 9-1/2 years in jail.
“I really like my household,” mentioned Griner, as she was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
After the ruling, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned the sentence “mixed with the injustice of her wrongful detention”, with the White Home nationwide safety spokesman including that Mr Blinken would strive speaking to his Russian counterpart, Antony Blinken.
He used to excessive stakes prisoner swap proposalGriner and Paul Whelan, one other American imprisoned in Russia on espionage fees, will be seen freed.
Russian officers objected to US claims in regards to the incident, saying a doable deal needs to be mentioned by means of “silent diplomacy, speculative non-disclosure”.
The WNBA and NBA described the sentencing as “unjustified and regrettable, however not sudden”.
The basketball league mentioned in a joint assertion: “The WNBA and NBA dedication to her secure return has not been shaken, and we hope that we’re nearing the tip of this course of to lastly introduced BG again to the USA,” the basketball federation mentioned in a joint assertion.