Facebook Twitter

Russia is moving Brittney Griner to a penal colony

No one close to the WNBA star knows the whereabouts or the conditions of the colony Griner is being transferred to, and they might not know for some time

SHARE Russia is moving Brittney Griner to a penal colony
A policeman removes the handcuffs from Brittney Griner in a courtroom just outside Moscow, Russia.

A policeman removes the handcuffs from WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner in a courtroom prior to a hearing in the Khimki district court, just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 15, 2022. Griner was arrested in February at the Russian capital’s Sheremetyevo Airport when customs officials said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. She has been jailed since then, facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Dmitry Serebryakov, Associated Press

WNBA star Brittney Griner is being moved to a Russian penal colony, her lawyers said on Wednesday.

No one close to Griner knows exactly where the colony is located or how long she will be detained there, ESPN reported.

“Notification is given via official mail and normally takes up to two weeks to be received,” her lawyers said, per ESPN.

The 32-year-old basketball player has been detained in Russia since February after Russian authorities allegedly discovered cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage when she arrived in Moscow to play pro ball in the country.

In August, a Russian court convicted her of “trying to smuggle narcotics.” On appeal in October, the court upheld the conviction, keeping her sentencing to nine years in prison, according to The New York Times.

AP22298398362841.jpg

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner on a TV screen is seen through a camera viewer as she waits to appear in a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service a courtroom prior to a hearing at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022.

Alexander Zemlianichenko, Associated Press

What happens in a Russian penal colony?

High-profile activists have reported abysmal living conditions and exhaustive work expectations while being housed in Russian penal colonies, CNN reported.

Prisoners typically work long hours, with little pay in most colonies. Many sleep in crowded dorms on metal cots for beds.

How bad conditions are depends on which penal colony it is, according to the Centre for Eastern Studies, a Polish think tank.

“Despite several attempts to reform the prison system in Russia, they still resemble the Soviet Gulag: human rights violations and torture are common,” the Centre for Eastern Studies said.