United States President Joe Biden wasted no time Thursday in condemning the nine-year prison sentence given to WNBA star Brittney Griner by a Russian court.
Here’s the full statement released by Biden shortly after the sentence was handed down:
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.
Griner on Thursday was found guilty of possession and smuggling of cannabis oil. The 31-year-old was arrested Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, pleaded guilty, explaining she had no intention of breaking the law when she had vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft had flown to Moscow to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.
Griner sent a letter to President Biden, parts of which were made public in July, and the administration since made an offer aimed at bringing her and fellow jailed American Paul Whelan home to the U.S.