US basketball star Brittney Griner seems to know she will face a harsh sentence because she told her lawyer earlier that she knew it would be “the end of the world” for she.
Ms Griner also said “I love my family” on Thursday as she was led out of a Russian courtroom in handcuffs after being sentenced to nine years in prison for drugs, Reuters reported.
“When we met Brittney on Tuesday, we told her ‘see you on Thursday’. She said, ‘see you at the end of the world. So it looks like she was right,” Griner’s lawyer Maria Blagovolina said, according to Reuters.
The basketball star was convicted of drug possession and trafficking after she entered Russia with a vape box laced with marijuana.
Her sentence was called “severe by Russian legal standards” by her agent.
“Today’s sentencing against Brittney Griner is very severe by Russian legal standards and is intended to demonstrate what we already know, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn,” said Lindsay Kagawa Colas, the basketball star’s agent, tweeted on Thursday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said officials would continue to work to bring Ms Griner and “wrongfully detained US citizen” Paul Whelan back to US soil.
“Nothing about today’s decision changes our decision that Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained,” he added.
President Joe Biden called the sentence “unacceptable” and called on Russia to release the basketball star immediately so she could be with “his wife, loved ones, friends and teammates”.
“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence,” Biden said.
Ms Griner’s lawyer said she was “very upset” and “very stressed” by the verdict.
In her closing remarks, the Houston native said it was “an honest mistake”.