Justin Bieber offers help to convicted basketball player Brittney Griner in Russia

Justin Bieber offers help to convicted basketball player Brittney Griner in Russia

UPDATE DAY

Justin Bieber has offered to help after American basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony in Russia on Thursday. 

The 31-year-old athlete was arrested in February after e-cigarette cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage when she arrived at an airport near Moscow. On August 4, she was found guilty of drug possession and smuggling, and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment and a fine of 1 million rubles.

Reacting to the news on Instagram, Justin Bieber wrote: “It hurts. If anyone knows how I can help, please let me know.”

Actress Mia Farrow also reacted to the sentence on Twitter: “The Russian judge ignored everything Brittney Griner said. He sentenced her to 9 years in a penal colony. For carrying 2 cartridges for his vaper – medically prescribed. Damn it. Heartbreaking.”

For his part, 50 Cent wrote “This is crazy” while Jada Pinkett Smith and Andy Cohen both called for the basketball player's release.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement that Russia was 'wrongly' detaining the basketball star and added: 'This is unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be reunited with her wife, relatives, friends and teammates.”

Brittney Griner's lawyer says he will appeal the sentencing, insisting the court ignored his evidence as well as Brittney Griner's “admitted guilt” at her trial in July.