American women's basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia

Judge Anna Sotnikova of the Khimki city court delivered the sentence and fined Griner 1 million rubles, or about $16,400

She said the court took into account Griner's partial admission of guilt, remorse for the deed, state of health and charitable activities

"I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here," Griner said

The verdict comes about six months after the 31-year-old was arrested at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian prosecutors of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage

Griner's lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement they will appeal the decision and criticized the court for ignoring their evidence

Speaking outside court, Boykov said that the average time in jail for this type of crime is five years, adding that almost a third of those convicted get parole.

The harsh sentence comes amid the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the country's saber-rattling with the US and Europe