Tehran (IP)- US basketball star gets a nine-year jail term after a Russian court found her guilty of deliberately bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia.

Iran PressEurope: Brittney Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, was arrested in mid-February as she arrived to play for a Russian side during the WNBA off-season. 

Her sentencing could now pave the way for a U.S.-Russia prisoner swap that would include the 31-year-old athlete and an imprisoned Russian who was once a prolific arms dealer.

Griner had admitted having the vape cartridges containing hashish oil but said she had made an honest mistake by inadvertently packing them.

Before the verdict, she pleaded with a Russian judge not to "end her life" with a harsh prison sentence. The court also fined her 1 million roubles ($16,990). 

The United States has offered to exchange Russian prisoners for American citizens, including Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

Some US officials, top of them The US president, reacted to the detainment of basketball player. Under pressure to bring home Americans held in Russia, Biden called on Russia to free Griner immediately and said his administration would continue to work for her release.

"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," he said in a statement.

"It's unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates."


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