WNBA star sentenced to nine years in Russian prison
Brittney Griner

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.

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