A Russian judge sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison on Thursday for smuggling several vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into Russia on February 17.
Judge Anna Sotnikova reduced Griner’s 9.5 year sentence by 6 months for time already served.
The judge also ordered Griner to pay 1 million rubles ($16,700 USD) for intentionally breaking Russian law.
Griner stared blankly at the judge when her sentence was translated into English by an interpreter.
The Phoenix Mercury center told the judge she understood she had the right to appeal her conviction.
Rappers 50 Cent, Boosie Badazz, Meek Mill and others reacted to Griner’s harsh sentence on social media.
Pop singer Justin Bieber also responded to her conviction and sentencing by offering to help free her.
The Grammy Award winner took to Instagram and asked his followers for suggestions to help him free Griner.
He shared an image of Griner on her way to court. “This hurts. If anyone knows of anyway I can help please let me know,” he wrote.
Griner, who has been detained since her arrest at a Moscow airport, pled guilty on July 7 to accelerate her drug trial.
The Biden administration had offered to swap convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan who was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying for the US.
Sources say Griner knew that any prisoner swap could not occur until her trial was completed. Griner’s drug trial, which began in June, was expected to last 6 months under Russian law.
Viktor Bout was convicted in New York of conspiracy to kill Americans in 2012 and sentenced to serve 12 years.
But Russian officials did not express interest in a prisoner exchange for Bout.