Brittney Griner begins transfer to Russian penal colony, lawyers say
American women’s basketball star Brittney Griner is in the process of being transferred to a Russian penal colony to serve the remainder of a nine-year sentence for drug trafficking that was upheld in late October.
Griner is “now on her way to a penal colony,” her lawyers said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.
“We do not have any information about her exact current location or her final destination,” said lawyers Marija Blagovolina and Aleksandar Bojkov. “In accordance with standard Russian procedure, the lawyers, as well as the US embassy, should be notified of her arrival at her destination. The notice is sent by official mail and usually takes up to two weeks to be received.”
Russian penal colonies they are known for their lack of hygiene and access to medical care, and prisoners are often subjected to manual labor.
She has repeatedly apologized for bringing a small amount of cannabis into the country, where she played basketball in the off-season.
In a statement, Griner’s representatives confirmed that they do not know her current location or condition.
“Our primary concern continues to be BG’s health and well-being,” said her agent, Lindsay Colas. “While we go through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where BG is or how she is, we are asking for the public’s support to continue writing letters and expressing our love and concern for her.”
Griner’s detention has raised concerns that she is being used as a political pawn Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The US government condemned the rejection of her appeal last week, with a State Department spokesman calling it “another miscarriage of justice, which only exacerbates the original injustice of her detention”.
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