Brittney Griner begins switch to Russian penal colony, attorneys say


US girls’s basketball star Brittney Griner is being moved to a Russian penal colony the place she is because of serve the rest of a nine-year drug smuggling sentence that was upheld in late October.

Griner “is now on her way to a penal colony,” her attorneys mentioned in an announcement to CNN on Wednesday.

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” mentioned attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov. “In accordance with the standard Russian procedure, the attorneys, as well as the US Embassy, should be notified upon her arrival at her destination. Notification is given via official mail and normally takes up to two weeks to be received.”

Russian penal colonies are recognized for his or her lack of hygiene and entry to medical care, with inmates usually required to carry out handbook labor.

Final month, Griner misplaced her attraction towards her sentence. She was detained in February and convicted in August of smuggling medicine into Russia.

She has repeatedly apologized for bringing a small quantity of hashish into the nation, the place she performed basketball within the low season.

In an announcement, Griner’s representatives mentioned they don’t know the place she is – or her situation.

“Our primary concern continues to be BG’s health and well-being,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Colas, mentioned. “As we work through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where BG is or how she is doing, we ask for the public’s support in continuing to write letters and express their love and care for her.”

Griner’s detention has raised considerations that she is getting used as a political pawn in Russia’s conflict towards Ukraine.

The US authorities condemned the denial of her attraction final week, with a State Division spokesperson calling it “another repudiation of justice, which only compounds the original injustice of her detention.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to as information of Griner’s switch “another injustice layered on her ongoing unjust and wrongful detention.”

“As we work to secure Brittney Griner’s release, we expect Russian authorities to provide our Embassy officials with regular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia, including Brittney, as is their obligation,” Blinken mentioned in an announcement Wednesday. “Ensuring the health and welfare of U.S. citizen detainees in Russia is a priority, and we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for them all.”

American officers “continue to work relentlessly to bring home” each Griner and Paul Whelan, one other American held in Russia, who was sentenced to 16 years in jail after he was convicted of espionage – costs he denies.

“We will not relent until they are reunited with their loved ones,” Blinken mentioned.