According to reports, Brittney Griner, a basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury, will be transferred to a Russian penal colony to serve the rest of her nine-year sentence. She served approximately two to three months in Russian jail after being convicted for drug charges. One of Griner’s worst fears over these few months was being moved to penal colonies also known as prison-labor camps.
Griner’s Current Status
In October, Griner’s legal team worked to get her sentence lessened at her appeal hearing. Unfortunately, her appeal was rejected by the Russian court, which means she will serve the remainder of her sentence. The next approximately 8 years of Griner’s sentence will be served in a place where prisoners are sent, isolated from society and forced to work.
Penal colonies are known for their 16-17 hour work days, lack of hygiene and lack of medical care. Prisoners are terribly mistreated here so imagine an American prisoner. Griner’s attorneys, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, currently have no information on her exact location nor her final destination.
It is Russian procedure that her legal team and US Embassy be notified of her location upon arrival. However, it can take up to about two weeks for the message to be received via mail.
Russia’s Unjust Actions
Russia did not notify the United States before moving Griner. Diplomats have asked for information on Griner but have not received any answers. Illustrating yet another unjust act in Griner’s case.
Griner’s detention and arrest have already been declared wrongful and unjust. The actions of Russian authorities add to the idea that she is being used as a political pawn in Russia’s war against Ukraine and the poor relationship between the United States and Russia.
The United States still awaits a response to their prisoner swap proposal. President Joe Biden has already signed off on the exchange of Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, for Griner and Paul Whelan, Former U.S. Marine.