Out lesbian US basketball player Brittney Griner was convicted by a Russian court on charges of drug possession and smuggling and sentenced to nine years in prison on Thursday.

US President Joe Biden denounced the verdict and sentence as “unacceptable” and called on Russia to release the athlete immediately so that she could be with her “her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates”.

President Biden added that he would work to bring both Griner and Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia under an espionage charge, home.