A court in Moscow gave WNBA star Brittney Griner a nine-year prison term on Thursday after finding her guilty of smuggling drugs into Russia.
The court also ordered the two-time Olympic medalist, a Phoenix Suns player, to pay a 1 million roubles fine, or $16,590.
The U.S. president chided the ruling, citing it as “unacceptable.”
“I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” Biden said.
The court imposed the prison term earlier after prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko also on Thursday requested that the judge sentence Griner to nine years and six months in prison, arguing that she intentionally included the cannabis oil in her luggage.
Griner’s legal team slammed the verdict, saying that the prosecution failed to prove criminal intent.
The team said they would appeal the verdict.
Griner’s mother, Maria Blagovolin, also noted during the weeks-long trial that Griner was prescribed medical cannabis two years ago to treat severe chronic pain and presented a doctor’s note in court as proof.
Blagovolin last month also provided a series of tests the American athlete received as part of an anti-doping check, none of which turned up any banned substances in her system.
Before her verdict, during a meeting last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to accept a deal involving Griner and former security consultant Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year prison term in Russia.
According to reports, the potential trade-in turn would likely see the U.S. release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand in 2008.