WNBA star Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges by the Russian courts.
Prosecutors initially asked for a 9 and half-year sentence out of a possible maximum ten-year sentence.
The judge made her verdict just a few hours after the trial. She declared that Griner was guilty of drug possession and smuggling and will also have to pay a fine of 1 million Russian rubles, or $16,590 in US dollars. Griner can now appeal the verdict.
The decision comes after many months of detention for the athlete and an offer by the US government for a prisoner exchange. Griner maintains that the marijuana vape cartridges ended up in her luggage on accident and that she made an “honest mistake” in packing them.
A US official shared with NBC News that they are still making efforts to press the issue of Griner’s release but that they are not expecting any rapid response from Russia.