Professional basketball star Brittney Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury in Arizona, was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison on August 4.
Griner said she had no intent to break Russian law by bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil with her when she flew to Moscow in February. Griner is a medical marijuana patient in Arizona.
She apologized to her family and team during the closing arguments in her drug possession trial.
Soon after the sentencing, the White House released a statement on behalf of President Biden, condemning the outcome:
“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” the statement read. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”