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Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
The 31-year-old basketball star - who normally lives in Houston, Texas with wife Cherelle Griner - was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling in Russia just days before the country launched the ongoing invasion on Ukraine and has now been found guilty and sentenced to almost a decade behind bars but her lawyers told PEOPLE that the verdict was "absolutely unreasonable" and intend to appeal the decision.
Brittney - who is also said to have been fined the equivalent of $16,600 for the offence - was found to have taken less than one gram of cannabis oil into the country and insisted her actions were "inadvertent" but had decided to plead guilty.
She said: "That's why I pled guilty to my charges. I understand everything that's been said against me, the charges that are against me and that is why I pled guilty but I had no intents to break any Russian."
Shortly after the sentence was read out on Thursday (04.08.22), President Joe Biden called on Russia to pardon her "immediately" and claimed that his administration will work "tirelessly" until she is home.
He said: "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."