Griner Begins Serving Term at Notorious Penal Colony

Athlete's lawyers say they've visited her there
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 9, 2022 2:25 AM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2022 6:10 PM CST
Brittney Griner Is on Her Way to Penal Colony in Russia
FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner speaks to her lawyers standing in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 26, 2022.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File)
UPDATE Nov 17, 2022 6:10 PM CST

Brittney Griner has started to serve her sentence at an infamous Russian penal colony, her legal team said Thursday. The basketball star has been moved to the IK-2 female penal colony, which has a reputation for unsanitary and harsh conditions, the Wall Street Journal reports. The penal colony, where the inmates sleep in barracks, is in Mordovia, a region about 300 miles southeast of Moscow. Griner's lawyers said they visited her there this week. Russian law requires inmates to work, per the BBC, for what amounts to a few dollars a month. Women usually are assigned to sew uniforms for soldiers, police, or prison service employees.

Nov 9, 2022 2:25 AM CST

Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner has been moved to a penal colony in Russia, her legal team said Wednesday. A Russian court rejected her appeal of her nine-year sentence for drug possession last month. "Brittney was transferred from the detention center in Iksha on the 4th November. She is now on her way to a penal colony. We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination," the statement from her legal team said, per the AP.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long. As the Administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the Administration to prevail on her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may be forced to endure in a penal colony. As we have said before, the US Government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens."

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Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Griner admitted that she had the canisters in her luggage, but testified that she had inadvertently packed them in haste and that she had no criminal intent. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

(More Brittney Griner stories.)

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