A Russian judge sentenced Brittney Griner to nine years in a penal colony after the WNBA star and two-time United States Olympic gold medalist was found guilty of drug possession.
Griner, who entered a guilty plea weeks ago, apologized to her family and wife.
“I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling, it doesn’t end my life here,” Griner said addressing the judge.
Now that the trial has concluded, negotiations to free Griner are expected to continue between Washington and Moscow during a period of tension between the two countries.
Griner, who had played for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg since 2014 during the WNBA offseason, was arrested Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Russian authorities said she carried vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage; Griner said during the trial that took place in Khmiki, Russia, that she accidentally packed them in haste and pleaded guilty “without intent.” The court, however, claimed she committed the crime deliberately.