WNBA star Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in prison for drug offences in Moscow in a politically-charged trial condemned by the United States.
US basketball star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian jail
US basketball star Brittney Griner has been convicted in Russia of drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to nine years behind bars in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.
The 31-year-old Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and an eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, listened with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the verdict by Judge Anna Sotnikova, but her lawyers said later she was “very upset.” Griner also was fined 1 million rubles (about $16,700).
US President Joe Biden denounced as “unacceptable” the verdict and sentence, which came amid soaring tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine.
“I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” Biden said, adding that he would continue to work to bring home Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction.