Brittney Griner was found guilty on drug possession and smuggling charges in a courtroom in Russia on Thursday. Soon after that news came down, she would be sentenced to nine years in prison and a $16,500 fine (1,000,000 rubles).
Following the decision, President Joe Biden released a statement critical of the verdict, calling it “unacceptable” and calling on Russia to “release her immediately.”
The full statement reads:
“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. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
Brittney Griner was detained in February at an airport near Moscow after Russian officials discovered vape cartridges containing cannabis oil inside her luggage.
After suggesting a prisoner swap involving Griner, Whelan, and renowned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Biden and the rest of his administration will continue to advocate for Griner’s return to the United States.