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US government maintains Brittney Griner is 'wrongfully detained' after trial in Russia

The US state department's official position on Brittney Griner remains that the professional basketballer has been wrongfully detained by Russia.

This is despite the fact that she has now been tried and sentenced in the country.

The USA have said that they will continue to work for her release, after Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The 31-year-old American was charged with drug possession for entering Russia with CBD oil.

The CCTV footage showing Griner being searched just before she was detained

"No element of this trial changes our judgment that Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained and should be released immediately," said Ned Price, a US State Department spokesperson.

"That is why we've put forward a number of weeks ago what we consider to be a serious, substantial proposal and an effort to seek her release, to seek the release of Paul Whelan as well.

"We are in communication with the Russians on this matter, and we encourage them to pursue this constructively."

What happened to Brittney Griner?

Phoenix Mercury star Griner was detained in February on arrival in Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, as she has done annually since 2014 during the WNBA offseason.

After months of uncertainty, Griner was finally tried and convicted on August 4 in Moscow. Her lawyers intend to appeal the sentence handed down.

Griner, whose defence rested on not being aware the oils were in her luggage, and that in the USA she uses them for medicinal purposes, also used her court appearance to apologise.

"I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of Yekaterinburg for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them," Griner said.

"I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.

"I made an honest mistake. I hope in your ruling it does not end my life."

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