U.S. basketball star Griner moved to Russian penal colony

i24NEWS

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American basketball star Brittney Griner escorted after a court hearing, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia.
AP Photo/Alexander ZemlianichenkoAmerican basketball star Brittney Griner escorted after a court hearing, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia.

Lawyers say her destination is unknown

Brittney Griner, the U.S. basketball player who was sentenced to 9 years in prison by a Russian court for alleged drug smuggling, was transferred to a penal colony, her lawyers said on Wednesday. 

According to the player’s legal team, her destination is unknown, as the lawyers have to be notified via official mail when Griner arrives at the colony, which might take up to two weeks. 

The 32-year-old athlete has been jailed for over eight months, with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration struggling to negotiate a deal for her release. Griner was detained in February at a Moscow airport over possession of two vape cartridges containing hashish oil. 

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She pleaded guilty but called her offense “inadvertent” asking the court for forgiveness. In August Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in what many saw as a political decision amid the current tensions between Russia and the U.S. over the Ukraine war. 

Earlier in October, her appeal was rejected, despite Washington claiming that it had offered Moscow a prisoner swap deal. Griner’s transfer to a penal colony without her family or lawyers being informed of her destination is a common practice in Russia, where inmates are moved from the prison they were kept in during the trial to a different location where they will serve the sentence without any access to communication. 

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