Brittney Griner Transferred to “Horrific” Russian Penal Colony as Loved Ones Say They’ve Lost Contact With WNBA Star

The unhappy saga of Brittney Griner took one other flip for the more serious this week, because the WNBA star was transferred from the non permanent jail that had served as her residence for a lot of the previous 12 months to a Russian penal colony.

Whereas the distinction between the 2 kinds of incarceration may sound negligible to People, those that have survived the Russian jail system say that Griner’s state of affairs simply grew to become immeasurably worse.

There are 106 mixed-gender low-security colonies scattered all through the nation, however as a result of the Russian authorities considers drug offenses to be worse than most different crimes, Griner has been despatched to one in all 35 most safety services, the place life is alleged to be particularly troublesome.

US WNBA basketball famous person Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants’ cage earlier than a listening to on the Khimki Court docket, exterior Moscow on July 27, 2022. (Picture by way of Getty Pictures)

The 31-year-old was arrested at a Moscow airport in February after customs officers found lower than a gram of hash oil in her baggage.

In August, she was Griner was sentenced to 9 and a half years in jail.

There have been hopes that the American and Russian governments would organize a prisoner alternate, however talks appear to have stalled.

Brittney Griner arrives to a listening to on the Khimki Court docket, exterior Moscow on June 27, 2022. (Picture by way of Getty Pictures)

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Legal professionals for Griner say they haven’t been knowledgeable of their consumer’s whereabouts.

“We don’t have any info on her precise present location or her remaining vacation spot,” mentioned attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov.

“In accordance with the usual Russian process, the attorneys, in addition to the US Embassy, ought to be notified upon her arrival at her vacation spot,” the authorized crew added.

Brittney Griner performed for the Phoenix Mercury throughout her time within the WNBA. (Picture by way of Getty Pictures)

“Notification is given by way of official mail and usually takes as much as two weeks to be obtained.”

The Russian jail system is shrouded in secrecy, however those that have endured its miseries say it’s little higher than the notorious gulags of Joseph Stalin’s regime.

“After all it has a bit higher situations than [the] unique gulag system from the Fifties,” says Maria Alyokhina who was imprisoned because of her involvement with the anti-Putin punk rock collective Pussy Riot.

Brittney Griner on the courtroom throughout pregame warmups. (Picture by Mike Mattina/Getty Pictures)

“However the sense is identical. It’s a labor camp,” Alyokhina provides.

“This can be a actually horrible establishment which we obtained from [the] Soviet Union and it’s completely inhuman. The cynical factor is, the work the state offers to the prisoners is stitching uniforms for Russian police and the Russian military,” the activist tells CNN.

“For 100 ladies, there are like three bathrooms and no sizzling water.”

Brittney Griner arrives to a listening to on the Khimki Court docket, exterior Moscow forward of her sentencing. (Picture by way of Getty Pictures)

Activists say the one silver lining in Griner’s case is that the oppressive Russian regime has created an setting by which prisoners depend on each other for assist.

“We’re residing in occasions while you get despatched to a colony for the slightest attainable motive, and so everybody feels that injustice keenly and unite collectively to assist one another, whoever you might be,” former prisoner Galina Yakovleva tells CNN.

Our ideas exit to Griner and her family members throughout this enormously troublesome time.

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