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Today’s decision and the decision of a Russian court to sentence American citizen Brittney Griner to nine years in prison has further aggravated the injustice of her illegal detention. This action highlights our major concerns about the Russian justice system and how the Russian government is using arbitrary detention to further its own agenda, using people as political pawns.

Nothing about today’s decision changes our determination that Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained, and we will continue to work to bring Brittney and our fellow American wrongfully detained Paul Whelan home. This is my absolute priority and that of the Department.

We will continue to press for justice and fairness for all Americans detained in Russia.

Russia, and any country that accesses illegal detention, represents a threat to the safety of anyone who travels, works, and lives abroad. The United States opposes this practice everywhere.

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