American basketball star Brittney Griner has lost an appeal against a nine-year sentence.

The WNBA Phoenix Mercury star center, who is also a two-time Olympic champion, was found guilty of drug possession on August 4 after police found canisters of cannabis in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

On Tuesday, the court of the Moscow region left her sentence unchanged.

However, the court said that the term she will have to serve will be recalculated. Each day she spends in pretrial detention will count as 1.5 days of incarceration, meaning she will likely serve about eight years.

Greener appeared at the meeting via video link from the colony near Moscow, where she is located.

She was arrested in February amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, just days before Russia introduced troops into Ukraine.

At the time, Griner was returning to Russia, where she played in the WNBA offseason.

She admitted the canisters were in her luggage, but claimed she had packed them inadvertently when she was rushing to her flight and had no criminal intent.

Attorneys for Brittney Griner said others convicted of similar crimes received much shorter terms.

Her defense team submitted written statements saying she was prescribed cannabis for pain relief.

Her lawyers also argued that the nine-year sentence, close to the crime’s 10-year maximum, was excessive, saying other defendants in similar cases received an average of about five years in prison and about a third received parole.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the hearing was “another sham trial,” adding that President Biden is “willing to go to extraordinary lengths and make tough decisions to bring Americans home.”

Before her sentencing, the US State Department said Griner had been “unlawfully detained”, a charge Russia denies.

The pressure is rising USA for the Biden administration to bring home the basketball player.

Use Chrome for a more accessible video player

A court in Russia found US basketball star Brittney Griner guilty of drug possession and sentenced her to nine years in prison.

In July, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington had made a “substantial offer” to return her along with another American convicted of espionage in Russia, Paul Whelan.

Mr. Blinken did not explain what the offer was, but it was reported that Washington was willing to trade Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer nicknamed the Merchant of Death, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.