President Joe Biden says Brittney Griner’s sentence is ‘unacceptable’

WNBA star Brittney Griner receives nine-year sentence
Originally Published: 04 AUG 22 11:38 ET
Updated: 04 AUG 22 11:44 ET

(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Thursday said the nine-year sentence handed down to WNBA star Brittney Griner by a Russian court for drug smuggling is “unacceptable.”

“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,” Biden said in a statement.

He continued, “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

The Russian court said that Griner committed the crime deliberately and sentenced her to nine years of jail time and a fine of 1 million rubles, which is roughly $16,400. Griner was arrested with less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 17.

The sentencing comes after CNN has reported that the US made a “substantial offer” with Russia of a proposed prisoner swap for Griner and Whelan. Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine, was arrested in Moscow on espionage charges in 2018 and subsequently sentenced to 16 years in prison in a trial US officials denounced as unfair.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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