US WNBA star Brittney Griner sent to Russian forced labor camp
A few months after the Russian government arrested basketball player Brittney Griner for allegedly possessing cannabis oil, she is now being transferred to a Russian forced labor camp. But her lawyers said early Wednesday in Moscow that they didn’t know her exact location or where she is heading.
After the WNBA star’s conviction on drug charges in August, her transfer to a Russian penal colony is one of her family’s greatest fears. Her Russian legal team confirmed that her transfer began on Friday. It was the day after the US embassy officials last visited her. Following the Russian court’s denial of her appeal on October 25.
Brittney Griner’s attorneys also said that normally, a transfer should take weeks or months. They also confirmed that they were unaware the Moscow jail would transfer her until Tuesday. In addition, her lawyers also said that her family might not be aware of her whereabouts. According to them, “Notification is given via official mail and normally takes up to two weeks to be received.”
WNBA star Brittney Griner transferred to Russian forced labor camp. Exact location unknown. pic.twitter.com/EEwHkhz6wVFEATURED STORIES
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) November 9, 2022
When Griner’s appeal for her 9-year sentence was denied, the US government never stopped its efforts to secure her release. Moreover, the White House released a statement on Wednesday morning criticizing her transfer to the Russian forced labor camp. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long.”
Brittney Griner’s situation in the Russian labor camp
The statement also cited, “As the Administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the Administration to prevail on her Russian captors. We aim to improve her treatment and the conditions she may endure in a penal colony. The U.S. Government is unwavering in its commitment to its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans detained in Russia – including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan.”
Once Griner was in the labor camp, it would be difficult for her family to get in touch with her. She will also endure harsh conditions in the camp. Russian penal colonies are more popular for having severe conditions than the Moscow jail.
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Brittney Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said, “Our primary concern continues to be BG’s health and well-being. 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 writing letters and expressing their love and care for her.”
Colas and her team stay in “close contact” with the US government and Richardson Center. Bill Richardson manages this private organization that aims to bring home American detainees. According to Colas, both Richardson and the State Department “are using all available resources to determine her whereabouts, ensure her safety and bring her home.”
Moreover, the US government has dealt with prisoner trade talks with Russia. However, there wasn’t any major progress. Rebekah Koffler, author of “Putin’s Playbook,” told Fox News that hostile relations on the Russia-Ukraine war have significant effects on the negotiations.