Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com
Brittney Griner, a star player for the US basketball team, was found guilty of narcotics possession and smuggling by a Russian court on Thursday and given a nine-year prison term.
Despite Griner’s claims that it was a “honest mistake,” Judge Anna Sotnikova stated in her decision that Griner had committed the offense “deliberately.”Read more: Russian court sentences Brittney Griner to nine years behind bars
The sentencing, according to US President Joe Biden, serves as a reminder that the American basketball star is being “wrongfully detained” by Russia.
“It’s unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Mr Biden said in a statement.
Griner has 10 days to appeal, and her lawyers said they expect a hearing at a Moscow court next week. Alexander Boykov, a lawyer for Griner, said the sentence was too harsh and that Russians typically receive a suspended sentence for similar crimes.
Griner, described as one of the greatest players in WNBA history, was detained in February after police said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage upon landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
In her final remarks during the trial, Griner said she had not intended to break Russian law by bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into the country.
“I made an honest mistake and I hope in your ruling, it does not end my life,” she said.
– Input from AP was used in this article